For the Cookie Swap Host
Keep these five tips in mind if you’re throwing the party:
1. Set the date: Try for a date early in December before your guests are inundated with other festivities. A Sunday is a great way to give late-planning bakers one more day of prep. Start the party in the morning (around 11 a.m.) and be clear about an end time (2 hours is usually enough) to allow guests to go about their merry way.
2. Make your own cook(ie) book: Ask guests to RSVP with their cookie choice and recipe so you can rule out any duplicates (Head here for the step-by-step Cookie Exchange checklist). Then, take the recipes to a local print or copy shop to have them bound for an inexpensive memento to a delicious day.
3. Wrapper’s delight: Decide early what you’re going to provide and what you’ll ask your guests to bring: If the idea of providing baggies and wrap for your guests to transport the dozens (and dozens) of cookies home sends you into a tizzy, make it clear on the invite that bakers should come with their cookies bagged in individual portions, and on their own serving tray, for easy distribution. If you’re more the take-charge host, let guests know they just have to bring the cookies, and that you’ll take care of the presentation and take-home packaging.
4. Pretty placard: Write the name of the baker and her confectionary creation on a tented place card to set out on the table.
5. Holiday drinks: Take a cue from your party start time on what to serve guests to drink: Anything before noon is a coffee and tea affair. Get a little more liberal with your afternoon libations and offer partygoers wine or sparkling cider. If you’re having friends over in the evening, a holiday cocktail adds a festive touch. Mix up a batch of pomegranate martinis or try a two-ingredient, non-alcoholic cranberry-ginger fizz.