by Jen Montbleau of Sterilite Corporation
Between all the shopping, baking, parties, wrapping, decorating, and travel, most of us would put “more time” at the top of our holiday wish lists. So this year, why not kill two turtledoves with one stone by hosting a cookie swap? With relatively little work and preparation, you can get your friends and family together for a fun gathering which will leave all of you with enough baked treats to supply the rest of your holiday festivities and gifting. Here are our suggestions for throwing a festive holiday shindig that’s anything but cookie-cutter.
Choose a group of friends who you think would be interested in sharing their holiday workload (and baked goods!) with you. You will want to have the party close enough to the holidays so the cookies will last. In the invitation, ask each guest or family member to bring their favorite holiday cookies (extra points if it's been passed down for many moons and by many grandmas). Ask them to RSVP with their planned cookie so you can be sure to have a good variety. Obviously, this kind of invitation is best directed at your most culinarily-gifted buddies!
Be sure to include a list of clear instructions in the invitations. Let your guests know how many cookies to bring – a dozen per guest is customary, but a half a dozen per guest is good for smaller parties. Warn them to be flexible – you may have to ask a friend to make something different if you are sent six variations on chocolate chip cookies.
Some suggested set of rules:
• Cookies should be homemade and seasonally appropriate
• Cookies should be imperishable enough to last several days after baking
• No burnt cookies, please
• Guests should bring recipe cards with their cookie’s recipe for each guest to take home
To prepare for the party, set your largest table with enough decorative platters or Sterilite Ultra•Seal™ 16.0 Cup Rectangles to hold each guest’s contribution. You will also need enough tongs for each platter so party guests can make their selections without touching the cookies with their hands. Once you receive the name of each participant’s selected cookie, print or write it on place cards and set them in front of the platters for easy identification and selection. Provide Sterilite food storage containers for your guests to package and take home their cookies – several smaller containers per guest are better than one large one, as different cookies types should be kept separate.
While the cookies at a cookie swap are meant to be taken home, there is bound to be plenty of sampling during the party. Be sure to have plenty of cold milk and you’ll have a great party with friends, festive cheer and enough baked cookies to last you the rest of the season. Sweet!