For several years my friends and I have hosted an annual Holiday Cookie Exchange.  We invite about forty people and it has become a treasured holiday tradition.  The cookie exchange allows us to take a deep breath during the craziest time of the year, drink coffee and catch up with friends, and swap our favorite holiday treats.  For some of us this has become the one time every year when we see each other.

It is easy to start this holiday tradition today.  First, find a co-host(s) to split up the work.  We have our set roles.   We hold the swap at my friend Jane’s house, Liz makes a few big, gorgeous pound cakes for snacking, and I supply the coffee and tea set up with the condiments as we hold our swap from 9:00 am – noon.  You can hold your swap at anytime of the day, a morning swap just seems to have worked for many of our guests.

Second, pick your date and time and send your Evite or invitations.  We send ours about three weeks before the event.  We ask that everyone bring 3 dozen cookies to share (with or without recipes cards) and their own coffee mug (we are trying to be green!)  What if your friends don’t bake?  Store-bought is perfectly fine.  We have friends who bring beautiful cookies from the local bakery.

When guests arrive they plate their cookies on a large dining table.  Before guests leave they take the same containers they brought their own cookies in and load them up with their selections.  Some guests will take home a little assortment on a tiny plate and others will load up enough to feed an army.  Your main goal is to not have leftovers that you (gulp) may end up eating.

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Finally, we ask that our guests bring a donation of food for the local food bank.  Jane has her SUV parked in her driveway with the trunk open.  It is full at the end of our swap!

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I hope this has inspired you to start your own delicious holiday tradition!