How to Host a Holiday Cookie Exchange

Are you looking for a fun way to celebrate the holidays with your friends and family? A holiday cookie exchange may be just what you need. Not only do you get to spend time with those you love, but you leave with an array of different cookies for all of your holiday celebrations.

Use these 5 tips to host a holiday cookie exchange. Plus. download a free sign-up sheet!

Baking cookies is a holiday tradition. I love making one or two types of cookies each year. The problem is that I always make the same recipes. For me, linzer tarts and cut out sugar cookies are the best holiday cookies. Then, I taste other cookies in the faculty room at school or at holiday parties, and I wish I had more variety of cookies.

A holiday cookie exchange is a great way to solve this problem. I get to bake the cookies I know I can make well and share those with my family and friends. I also get to try their favorite cookie recipes without shopping for all the ingredients and spending hours mixing and rolling.

How to Host a Holiday Cookie Exchange

#1 – Decide who to invite.

The first thing you need to figure out is your guest list for your holiday cookie exchange. You need to invite enough people to get a good variety of cookies, but if there are too many people, you have a ton of cookies to bake. My recommendation is between 6 and 10 people.

#2 – Set a number of cookies each person should bake.

Next, you need to decide how many cookies you want each person to bring. I’ve participated in cookie exchanges where we baked half a dozen cookies for each person. I’ve done others where we baked a dozen for each person. It all depends on how many cookies you want to take home.

#3 – Have everyone sign up for one type of cookie.

Ideally, you want each person to bring a different type of cookie. The easiest way I’ve found to guarantee this happens is to create a Google Doc and share it with everyone. That way, everyone can see what has already been taken and choose a different type of cookie.

Download my Google sign-up form at the bottom of this post. Just make a copy, and you’re ready to send it to all your guests.

#4 – Stock up on holiday trays and saran wrap.

For the day of the cookie exchange, you’re going to need a way for your guests to take their cookies home. I like to go to the Dollar Store and buy a pretty holiday tray for each of my guests. That way, everyone has somewhere to put the cookies they’re taking home. Just put saran wrap over the top, and they’re good to go.

#5 – Have each guest bring several copies of their cookie recipe.

One last fun activity to do at your cookie exchange is to create a recipe book for each guest. Line up all the recipes on a table and allow guests to pick up one of each. Then, they can staple them together and leave with a little book filled with all the cookie recipes.

My Favorite Holiday Cookie Recipes

There are a few tried and true holiday cookies that I like to make each year. These recipes are by far the best I’ve found, and my holiday season isn’t complete without them. Some are really easy to make, and others require a little bit of extra time and attention. Just click the link to get the recipe.

  • Snickerdoodles – This recipe is super easy, and the cinnamon sugar coating creates a delicious, sweet cookie. I also love this particular snickerdoodle recipe because it’s based on the Disneyland version, and I love all things Disney!
  • Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprints – This is another very easy recipe. Just roll the dough into balls, bake, and drop some jam in the middle. Yum! Just make sure there are no nut allergies if you’re using this recipe. I made them for my friend whose son is allergic to nuts, so I left out the almond extract. They still tasted delicious!

raspberry thumbprint cookies for a holiday cookie exchange

  • Cutout Sugar Cookies – These are the best sugar cookies I’ve ever made! My favorite part is that I don’t have to chill the dough. These are still really easy to make, but they do take some time to cut the shapes.

cutout sugar cookies for a holiday cookie exchange

  • Linzer Tarts – These are my absolute favorite holiday cookie! They are so pretty and delicious! I always bring these to my cookie exchanges. These are more labor-intensive, but it’s totally worth it!

linzer tarts for a holiday cookie exchange

A Successful Holiday Cookie Exchange

Follow these tips, and you will have a fun holiday cookie exchange for your family and friends. It feels great leaving with a tray of homemade cookies when you only bought the ingredients for and baked one type. You’ll be set for all of your holiday gatherings!

I also love having my friends over for a holiday tea party. Click the link to find out how I plan for this fun holiday tradition.

What are your favorite holiday cookies?

Let me know in the comments below.

Cookie Exchange Sign-Up Form


Send this sign-up form to your guests, and planning your cookie exchange will be a breeze.

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3 thoughts on “How to Host a Holiday Cookie Exchange

  1. I love cookie exchanges! They are so fun, and I love trying different cookies out. Sugar cookies are one of my favorites, and I can’t wait to try out your linzer tarts this season. Thanks for the great tips!

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