Holiday season is usually a very busy time of year for most people regardless of your religion.  You have many gifts to buy and wrap, Christmas cards to send out, the house to decorate, holiday parties to attend, and last but not least, have the family over for dinner.  So, I like ideas that can save me time and I’d like to share one of my favorite things to participate in during the Christmas season:  cookie exchanges.

A cookie exchange generally works like this:  

•    Each person makes 12 dozen homemade cookies or bars of the same type.  This isn’t as hard as it sounds because most recipes make from 2-3 dozen from each recipe.

•    Once cooled and decorated, you place 12 cookies on a plate and secure with plastic wrap.  This will give you 12 plates containing 12 cookies for a total of 144 cookies.  

•    Type or write the recipe on small paper or 3” X 5” cards and tape to each plate of cookies, either on top or bottom.  You do want people to view the cookies though.

•    Bring the plates to the cookie exchange location at the assigned time.  Until the time deadline has been reached, you get to socialize and check out the selections that you will soon get to choose from.

•    You are then allowed to select 12 plates of 12 different cookies or bars to take home.  This is great because you now have 12 different varieties of cookies or bars to serve your family or guests even though you only made one kind of cookie or bar, plus you now have the recipes for the ones you liked.  Some exchanges will have you only put 6 cookies on a plate so you could wind up with 24 types of cookies!

•    I recommend making an extra couple of dozen or so, not only for your family and guests on Christmas, but in case you burn a batch.

Most cookies or bars can be frozen, so if you are lucky enough to keep them away from your family until Christmas, you have done minimal work in exchange for the great variety of cookies received in the cookie exchanges.  I say minimal work because it is easier to make one recipe, even if you need to make it several times, than to make 12 different recipes.  If you need more cookies you just bake extra dozens of cookies since you receive the same number of cookies that you bring to the exchange.  

The cookie exchanges I have participated in only allow homemade items, no store or bakery products, which I like.  If your church, neighborhood, or friends have never done a cookie exchange, it is a great way to offer a variety of desserts to your guests and have a social gathering at the same time.

If you like cookie exchanges, view our cute cookie ornaments which I’m sure you’ll like.

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