This is one of my favorite Christmas decorations! I found it several years ago and it's usually the first thing I put out in my kitchen! It's just the welcome I like for anyone visiting my home during the holidays. Speaking of holidays, I haven't had a chance to post anything since before Thanksgiving. I was a little under the weather the week before and then I started my baking and then all my company started arriving and that brings me to today! Tomorrow is December 1st and the countdown will begin to the big day! But first, there is so much to do.
One of my favorite events every Christmas is hosting a Cookie Swap! I started having cookie swaps about 4 or 5 years ago and everyone starts asking around the first of November if I'm still planning on having it this year. Of course! It wouldn't be Christmas without lots of cookies and I love having a sample from everyone's kitchen! I thought I would tell you how I go about planning my cookie swap and how it works...so, let's start with the invitation.
Here are a few invitations I've created over the years. I love to create invitations and it's always so much fun coming up with Christmas ideas!
|This is the invitation I created for this year. I got my graphics from a great website called pccrafter.com|
I started out inviting about 6 girls to my first cookie swap. That way it wouldn't be too overwhelming for anyone to have to bake tons of cookies. Each participant bakes a dozen cookies for each person in attendance plus keep a dozen for yourself. I have been to cookie swaps before where we would only get like 2 or 3 cookies of each kind but it's so much better when you get a dozen of each!! When you invite about 6 or 7 ladies you only have to bake that many dozen cookies...the more you invite, the more you have to bake. It's also a good tip when looking for that perfect recipe to try to find one that makes a lot. I have had to make 3 recipes just to get enough cookies for the swap. Over the years the number I invite has increased and this year 11 in all were invited but only 10 will be able to attend...so I will need to bake 10 dozen cookies!
An important rule is that all cookies have to be homemade. Anyone can go by a bag of cookies...that's the point in the cookie swap...to get lots of different cookies while only having to bake 1 kind yourself. Can you believe one year I went to a cookie swap and 2 people brought store bought cookies...the nerve!! On rare occasions we will allow slice and bake...only if they are doctored up!
The packaging of your cookies is so much fun! I think that's more fun than the baking! You know I've said before I don't care what's in the package as long as it's in a cute package! I have packaged mine in little gift bags with ornaments and ribbons...last year I made a monogram cookie and hung in on the front of each bag. I've received cookies in decorated chinese take-out containers, boxes made specifically for packaging cookies and ceramic bowls filled with cookies and wrapped in cellophane and ribbons. Just get creative!
Next, make sure you make a copy of your recipe for each person. The creativity doesn't stop there either. I love looking through my cookbook and remembering all the cookie swaps and good times when I see those recipes.
Now, that's about all I need to tell you right now about how the cookie swap works. Part II will be all about what we do, what we eat and what we drink at the swap once everyone arrives. Look for that in the next day or two. Until then, start planning your cookie swap right now, it's not too late! ~Becky