The date has been set, invitations have been sent and the decor has been chosen. Now, let's focus on how to host a fuss-free holiday cookie party that will be a memorable experience for years to come.
By pairing festive holiday refreshments with homemade cookies and delectable appetizers, you'll encourage a relaxed atmosphere that's ideal for grazing and girl talk.
A simple menu that includes a variety of dips, spreads and finger foods will not only be satisfying, it will also look chic when displayed on a beautifully decorated table. To cut down on prep time, I recommend seeking a little help from your local grocery store. My neighborhood market is brimming with unique appetizers during the holidays, and most have a variety of delicious items for any budget.
You can also choose to create a potluck-style menu and encourage guests to each bring a holiday dish to share as well as their selected cookie recipes.
Who doesn't find beautifully packaged treats irresistible? A packaging station is also something to consider. As the host, provide some decorative packaging materials and holiday trimmings for guests to wrap their cookies to take home. Some items to include are small gift boxes, festive tissue paper, tags, ribbon, string, and small trinkets like mini tree decorations.
Encourage each of your guests to donate some items to your packaging station to save on some of the cost and provide a little more variety. It’s also a great idea to hit up the holiday aisles of stores like department, specialty or even the local dollar store in the days following Christmas. You’ll find huge discounts on adorable items that you can pack up for next year.
Personally, I like the idea of giving guests an item that can be reused for many years to come. And since I am a self-professed jar addict, large jars are my go-to party favor. Your friends can fill the jars with cookies and adorn them with merry holiday trimmings. If glass jars aren't within your budget, consider a metal cookie cutter with a cute homemade tag.
Door prizes are always be a nice addition to a cookie party. Filling a few jars with a favorite cookie or brownie mix is a nice option, or pair your party with a white elephant gift exchange to add a little spice to your gathering.
Consider a “Decorate Your Own Ornament” station, with craft paints, pipe cleaners, glitter, and stencils. Choose quick-drying paint so ornaments are ready to go when your guests are. Here’s a fun idea: make ornaments inspired by events from the previous year. Suggest one-word reminders of different fun things, like family vacations or major milestones, your guests have experienced throughout the year and let them get creative.
Do all your girlfriends love to read, or have a cookbook obsession? In the vein of a white elephant, ask each guest to wrap and bring a cookbook, novel, or bestseller from their collection to swap at the party.
Including fun activities where friends and family can get together creates life-long memories and can start awesome new traditions to continue through future holidays.
Party day is here! Relax! Doing a little prep work will allow you to enjoy the party with your family and friends. Here are a few simple steps to make the whole day as seamless and enjoyable as possible.
For your decorations, having your house decorated for the holidays is ideal, but if you haven’t had time to do that, a nice tablescape will be more than enough!
Make sure you have a nice long table where all the cookies can be displayed. A simple, festive tablecloth is a great way to dress up the table. Another tip is to use a variety of wood cutting boards to display the different cookies, which gives the table a rustic touch.
A fun idea for a centerpiece is to take a small faux holiday tree (find them at craft stores) and decorate it with holiday cookie cutters. The cutters can also double as party favors!
Other ideas for party favors are mini spatulas, recipe card boxes, and festive trays and boxes. A simple idea for this is a men’s cardboard shirt box. They are available at local craft stores for less than a dollar and can be dressed up with holiday ribbons, stickers and tissue paper.
Activities and Fun
If your guests have sent you their cookie selections in advance, print out simple labels or place cards and place them on the table so guests will know exactly where to put their trays of sweets. Also ask guests to place their printed recipe cards next to their cookie platter, like this:
Once guests arrive and have had some time to chat and maybe even sample a few cookies, ask each person to speak a little bit about the recipe, and whether or not it is a passed down family tradition or a new favorite.
If you decide to have a friendly competition, make sure to have pencils and paper for ballots and make the voting anonymous. Some examples of categories are: “Great for Kids,” “Best Presentation,” and “Best All-Around.” It’s also a nice touch to have small prizes for the winners.
At the end of the party, each guest can take home at least three samples of each cookie and the recipe cards so they can make them on their own!
Cookie parties are a simple and fun way to get together around the holidays and share memories and family traditions.
And any party where you get to bring home cookies sounds good to me!