Getting together with family and friends surrounded by delicious appetizers, festive holiday-themed drinks, and dozens of homemade cookies is pretty much my idea of holiday party perfection.
This year, I‘m smitten with a vintage theme inspired by Grandma‘s recipe box. By encouraging your guests to bring one classic recipe such as Thumbprint Cookies and a modern recipe like Salted Caramel Cookies, you‘ll have a delicious combination that is sure to satisfy all of your guests.
Much like any party that you host, you need to start your planning process with a guest list. A good rule of thumb is to invite no more than 8 to 10 people because every guest should be asked to bring up to a dozen holiday treats per person, plus an additional dozen for sampling.
Because holiday cookie parties are becoming such a popular holiday tradition, festive invitations can be found on many websites such as Etsy. To save time and money, you can also send invites via email, Facebook or simply create your own using holiday stamps and colorful stationery.
Make sure you include an RSVP date on your invitations. It‘s also a good idea to encourage attendees to bring homemade savory items to share. You‘ll also want to find out what type of cookies they‘ll be bringing in advance to prevent duplicates. Although I‘m obsessed with sugar cookies, it‘s not much of an exchange if you end up with ten dozen sugar cookies.
This year, I‘m keeping it simple with vintage bakeware for displaying cookies mixed in rustic pinecones, holiday ribbon and small holiday bulbs. You can keep costs down by raiding your holiday décor stash or by heading outside and borrowing some of these items straight from Mother Nature.
If you prefer to purchase your décor items, be sure to keep your eyes open for great coupons from popular craft stores. This is a fabulous way to score decorating elements at up to 50% off and you‘ll be able to use them at your annual cookie party for many years to come.
Homemade display cards are the perfect way to detail the cookie varieties and to let your guests know who created each item. I love the idea of using small alphabet letter stamps to create a vintage typography vibe. Display cards can also be used to alert guests of common food allergy ingredients, such as nuts.
Cookie Parties. Aren‘t they fantastic? I mean, a party dedicated to cookies, recipes and all things sweet? YES! Please invite me!
The best thing about a Holiday Cookie Party is everyone who is invited is bringing their A-Game…their best cookie to share. So you know that beyond the sampling, you‘ll definitely come home with a few great recipes to add to your recipe box!
When you first decide you‘re ready to have your best girlfriends over to swap cookies you need to lay out a quick plan. Let‘s talk details:
The Guest List
I have found that inviting no more than 20 people is best…actually less is better. And certainly depending on the space you have in your home, you will be able to narrow down a number. The larger the party, the more cookies everyone has to bring…and we don‘t want to make attending your festivity work for your guests! So keeping it to a small-medium size makes everything a little less stressful…on you and your guests!
A theme isn‘t necessary when hosting a cookie party, I mean, the theme is already there for you: COOKIES! But if you want to get a little more creative you could plan it around a color theme, like Winter Wonderland, or Elf Workshop or even Mrs. Claus‘ Kitchen. A theme can help add some direction when you choose to pick out your invitations and décor!
Ok, this is when the fun starts…I love invitations. Personally I am partial to a mailed invite, but I know that not everyone has time to order cards, or write them out during this busy season. With that said you can easily design your invite using the website Paperless Post (a favorite of mine) or even set up a Facebook invite!
On your invitation you will want to make sure to include the date, time and what each person is expected to bring.
Two hours is a good amount of time to allot for your party, and I have found that a late afternoon or early evening party seems to work best in everyone‘s busy schedules. Certainly if you want to make it a “Couples” party, plan it for the evening.
An important thing to include in the invitation is how many cookies you want your guests to bring. My rule of thumb is having everyone bring enough for each guest to take home two or three of each cookie. So if you are planning 15 guests, have everyone bring at least 30 cookies. That usually works out to be a “full batch” so it‘s easy for everyone to prepare!
Also, make sure you let your guests know if there are categories of if there will be a contest! For example, you may have a category, “Best use of Candy” or “Best Chocolate Cookie”. These are the things people need to know to prepare for the party.
And don‘t forget to ask them to bring recipe cards with the full recipe to pass out to the guests. It‘s a fun takeaway, especially if you really LOVE some of the cookies that you will be sampling!
Fun Tip ~ A really smart idea is to have everyone bring a small batch to sample and then portioned sized amounts of the same dough to freeze. The one thing I have found about Cookie Parties is I go home with SO many cookies and inevitably some get thrown out. This is a great way to let everyone take home some of your cookie dough to bake at home when they want!
*If you choose to do this, make sure you have enough freezer space to store everyone‘s cookie dough during the party.