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Does the thought of spending a whole weekend covered from head to toe with baking ingredients fill you with dread? Not to mention the aftermath you'll have to clean up in the kitchen! What if you just had to spend a couple of hours in the kitchen, making only one type of cookie, and yet you had dozens of different cookies and other delectables to give as gifts this holiday season?

That's the premise behind The Cookie Exchange. Here's how you do it. Invite as many of your friends and neighbors to participate as you want. It's a good idea to limit the number of participants to between six and a twelve. Each of you agrees to bake one dozen cookies (or candy, or muffins--use your imagination!) for each participant, including themselves. Then you get together to exchange the delicious results!

A good time line for this would be to do your cooking on a Saturday or Sunday morning, and have everyone meet at your house around noon to swap their baked delectables. Of course, you could meet in the evenings, or any other time that can accommodate everyone's schedules. As the host, have a delicious apple cider waiting and make sure everyone understands to bring their own containers to take home the cookies.

Here are some other ideas to turn the cookie exchange into a celebration of it's own:

Provide gift tags, markers, and ribbons so you can all finish preparing the gifts on the spot!

Make it a potluck luncheon and have everyone bring a dish as well as their baked goods.

Have everyone bring the recipe for their cookie so you can all recreate it later. You can also make copies to give with the gift.

You can use the cookie exchange for charitable purposes. Have everyone make cookies and package them up, then meet and take them to a nursing home or a shelter. (Call in advance so they know you're coming.)

Are you and your friends Weight Watching? Host a special "low-fat" cookie exchange. Why gain the traditional 10-12 holiday pounds if you don't want to?

It's that easy! A couple of hours in the kitchen vs. a weekend and a big ole' mess. I hope you have a wonderful time if you decide to do this, and have a very happy holiday season!


So--you're psyched up and ready to host your own cookie exchange, but you're tired of the same old recipes? Click here for some sweet holiday recipes!


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