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How to Plan and Host a Christmas Cookie Exchange

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Baking Christmas cookies for friends, family, or even as a fun Christmas tradition with your kids is one of my favorite things to do every Christmas.

I host Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, in addition to going to several parties, so Christmas cookies are in high demand the entire month of December. But all that holiday baking can be stressful, especially if you need to make several varieties of cookies and holiday treats.

However, as much as I love baking, I love having a system (and doing things the easy way).

In order to simplify my holiday baking, I’ve fallen in love with participating in cookie exchanges. It’s a great way to get your holiday baking done quickly, and it’s also really fun to have a “taste test” and a fun evening with your friends, church group, or family.

If you’ve ever wondered how to participate in a cookie exchange (or wondered what a cookie exchange even is), these are my favorite tips (and FAQs) to have a simple holiday cookie exchange.

How to Have a Successful Christmas Cookie Exchange

How does a cookie exchange work?

A cookie exchange is a fun way to get all your Christmas baking done quickly. You bake several dozen cookies, give them to other people, and get dozens of cookies back.

It’s a great way to get a variety of cookies baked without all the stress of buying tons of random ingredients, dirtying your kitchen, or having to spend weeks baking.

You’ll only need to bake one type of cookie, but if everyone brings a different kind, you’ll have several types of cookies to make your Christmas cookie trays.

As people sign up for the exchange, ask them to list the type of cookie that they’ll bring so that you don’t end up with tons of the same kind.

If you’re looking for new recipes to try, get my Holiday Baking Guide. You’re welcome! 😋

How many people should participate in a cookie exchange?

Invite a few people to the cookie exchange so that you get a variety of cookies.

However, keep in mind that you need to bake a dozen cookies for each participant. While it’s nice to get a large variety of cookies, keep in mind how long it’ll take you to bake.

I recommend inviting no more than 6-8 people to your cookie exchange to keep it manageable.

To stay organized during the cookie exchange, download my free printable Cookie Exchange Signup Sheet here:


What should I bring to a cookie exchange?

To participate in a cookie exchange, you’ll need to bring one dozen (12) cookies for each participant. You might want to bring an extra plate of cookies to eat at the exchange. 

Feel free to decorate your cookies and the container that you pack them in. If you put them in a bag, print and color these cute Christmas bag toppers. You can also put them in a box. Decorate the box with cute tags.


What do I do with all the cookies from a cookie exchange?

After participating in a cookie exchange, you’ll have several dozen cookies and Christmas treats. Use these to make your cookie trays and dessert platters if you’re hosting a Christmas party.

You could also repack the cookies and use them as gifts. Put one or two of each cookie in a container, wrap it, and give it to a neighbor, teacher, or even your UPS driver.


A Christmas cookie exchange is a great way to try new varieties of cookies. It’s also a really fun way to spend some time with your friends on “exchange day.” Bonus tip: bake an extra dozen cookies and make some hot chocolate or peppermint flavored coffee to eat on exchange day.

Happy holiday baking!

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