Tuesday, January 4, 2011

1st Annual Cookie Exchange

For what seems like several years, I've been dreaming of attending a cookie exchange party. It seemed like such a perfect idea - make several dozen of one kind of cookie, attend a party with just the girls, and leave with a gazillion different kinds of cookies to share with family or enough loot to take to another holiday party. I don't remember where I first learned of such a thing, but I do remember trying to convince my sister Sherry to host one. She never took me up on the idea, so I finally decided to have one myself. The time seemed right - we purchased a home last year and finally seem to have friends here in Indy. :-)

I began the planning process with tips from www.cookie-exchange.com. This site is full of great ideas and lessons learned from cookie exchanges of Christmas Past. Some of the tips I found the most valuable were the "Guidelines" to provide to the group of ladies. Those guidelines can be found here. See the end of this post for my guidelines.

I used Punch Bowl to create and manage the e-vites. Typically I am paper-only-kind-of-gal when it comes to invitations, but I found this format to be extremely useful for this event. I was able to provide a pretty invitation (it even comes "delivered" as an envelope to be opened by your guests) that provided all the necessary details for the event. Not to mention, this e-vite site offers many options to manage your event and guests. I loved the features and I'd consider Punch Bowl far superior to the super-out-dated www.evite.com that we are so familiar with. The feature I loved the most was the "Potluck" option. Guests could log-in and post what type of cookie they would be bringing. This was essential since one of the main rules of the exchange was that there were to be no cookie repeats. (More on the cookies I chose later.)

Due to my camera's unfortunate hiatus (as mentioned in a previous post), I did not have the opportunity to take my own pictures of the event. Here are some, collected from Sherry and Courtney's cameras.

My small group girls, minus Bethany (who was truly missed at this event!)  Lauren (second from the left) was the winner of "Best Jammies" for her adorable snowflake themed flock.

Cookie Table #1. 
The theme was "Snow" - so you see snowflake and snowman themed cookies and decorations. Guests were encouraged (and rewarded!) for participating in the theme. The categories I awarded were "Best Taste", "Best Display", "Best Theme", and "Best Jammies".

All together there were about 20 different types of cookies. Our husbands were surely elated with joy!

Cookie Table #2. 
Because yes, we had that many cookies. :-)

Here are some of us sampling cookies in our Christmas jammies. Each person brought an extra dozen of cookies to be sampled so that we could vote on "Best Taste".

These are my cookies. I'll talk about them more in another post. :-)

Overall, the Cookies Party was a TON of fun and huge success. I cannot wait until next year... in fact, I've already determined my theme and have my cookie type picked out.


As I mentioned above, the guidelines found on the Cookie Exchange website were invaluable. However, I felt the need to change the wording up a bit to not sounds so rigid. :-) Here were my "rules":

1.       Each person should provide 4 dozen of the same cookie (3 dozen to share, 1 to taste at the party). If you’d like to provide more than one cookie, fine with me! The more the merrier. Please RSVP with the type of cookie you’ll be making so there are no repeats.
2.       All cookies should be homemade and baked (if you do not have time to bake or say, burn your cookies, please visit a bakery and pick up some yummy cookies).
3.       Plain chocolate chip cookies are fine, but RSVP fast! (And please avoid premade cookie dough if at all possible.)
4.       I’m a sucker for a theme, and this year the theme will be Snow – as in snowflakes and/or snowmen. However, make any themed cookie you would like.
5.       Arrange cookies in a basket or platter for display and be creative!
6.       A large container will be provided for you to carry away your cookies. Feel free to bring an extra in case there is an abundance of cookies!
7.       Email me a copy of your recipe before the party, preferably 1 week or so in advance (or bring recipe to the party if this isn’t possible).
8.       Christmas pajamas are encouraged as attire for the party!
9.       RSVP as soon as you can and let me know what type of cookies you are planning on baking, no duplicate recipes are allowed.
10.   There will be prizes for Best Display, Best Taste, Best Snow Theme and Best Christmas Jammies! 

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