Have you ever held a christmas cookie exchange?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Mattsmom277, Nov 17, 2010.

  1. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    I'm throwing my first ever cookie exchange party mid December. Everyone will be baking a dozen sugar free cookies per person attending. I'm really looking forward to it, it just sounds so fun :)

    Have any of you thrown one before, or attended one? As hostess, I'm wondering what I should put out in terms of refreshments etc. I have set the time for 2p.m. so people will have eaten lunch and be home in time for dinner hour. But mid afternoon I figure etiquette would lean towards offering some light snacks. I'm on a pretty tight budget so it can't be anything too pricey but I do like to do things "right" so to speak. Decorations are a no brainer since the house will be decked out for the holidays anyhow. I am going to hand paint a festive cookie jar and have everyone put their name in a draw for it as a door prize. Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, soda, bottled water will be out for people. But I'm really wondering about snack type things that I should have out??? I am thinking there will be about 10-12 people in total coming over. S/O will be on holiday break by then so the day before we can prep ahead anything if needed, so really it is no problem if it is a time consuming idea, just so long as the cost is low lol.
  2. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Hmmm. I've not done it as a party type thing before.

    But the family has done it amongst ourselves. One person picks one or two types to bake each. Then we exchange the extra several dozen of each type. Gives each family a wide variety of xmas cookies with not as much work involved. lol We also give some away to neighbors...........we always tend to bake too many even when we're exchanging them. :santa:
  3. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    We've done what Lisa described above in regards to everyone making 2 types of cookies and then exchanging them when we're all together so we all have a nice variety.

    In regards to snacks to offer, I would think simple finger foods would be sufficient: A veggie platter, fruit platter, a bean dip with salsa and chips, a veggie spread with a variety of crackers & cheeses. Keeping it simple is key. Once you get into things that have to be baked and kept warmed, it's not easy anymore. I stumbled upon an appetizer years ago that everyone just loves. You take sliced genoa salami and spread a thin layer of cream cheese in between slices, making a stack of 6-7 layers, ending with salami. Cut them pizza style into 8 triangles and then skewer a green pimento stuffed olive on top with a toothpick. Tasty, nutritious and easy. Also, a platter of shrimp cocktail, and cream cheese stuffed celery is big with my IL's.

    Have fun~
  4. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    I've gone to several Christmas Cookie exchanges, and hosted a few as well.
    Usually they have been set up as an afternoon tea, with a very light menu. A typical menu would be:
    - finger sandwiches: cucumber with cream cheese, tuna salad, egg salad
    - raw vegetables with a light dip
    - petit fours or other little desserts
    - little hors d'ouvres: canapes, spring rolls, small skewers of chicken or beef, (maki rolls if you're feeling adventurous)

    Your drink list sounds delightful, as does the cookie jar draw. As for foods, if you want something easy try some of the President's Choice frozen thingies (No Frills / Loblaws / Superstore). They're easy, quick, light and not too expensive.

    Have fun. It sounds lovely!
  5. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    Thanks for the tips Trinity! Maybe you should drive on down and join us ;). Nothing like a Sunday morning drive into the snowy north mid-December to set a Christmas mood ;).

    I'm considering a few of the presidents choice boxed bite size things. Yet it might be more cost effective to make it all from scratch depending on what I go with for the snack menu, especially since S/O can help me prep stuff the day before.

    I'm going to do some sandwiches, and a veg/dip tray, perhaps a small fresh fruit tray and thinking perhaps a festive cheese ball/dip tray with some good cracker or pita wedges or something. I'm a bit reluctant to do anything that needs heating and serving, simply due to space constraints with so many people over, plus heat in the kitchen can flare me up and that would be a no no that day. I'll have plenty of baking of my own (separate from cookie exchange baking) done by then, so there will a nice assortment of sugar free baked treats for desserts. I'm thinking that should be adequate perhaps? Or maybe add in a fresh made pasta salad or potato salad or something? I want nibbles though, not a big buffet luncheon lol.

    I thought the cookie jar thing would be a nice little gift for one lucky guest. easy child is going to make everyone a homemade tree decoration as a thank you gift for participating. She's getting quite good with crafting and some of the decorations look very classy. I keep telling her to make them all year long so I can have a table at a craft show some year and pay the holiday bills with the profits haha.

    Any more ideas from anyone? I feel really close to the particular women that are attending, although very few know one another. So I really would like a inviting atmosphere that allows everyone to feel comfortable as they get to know each other a bit and hopefully just have a lot of comfortable good conversation and laughter. I'm going to have all the tree lights on, some classical Christmas music playing in the background, and have a pot of homemade potpurri simmering on the stove. I'm going today to pick up some lovely thick brown bags with these cute rope handles for everyone to carry home their swapped cookies. I'm going to hand paint each bag with a Christmas picture of gingerbread cookie ladies dancing in aprons. I think it's a nice way for them to carry their treats home, but they can also opt to use the bag later if they plan on gifting baking to someone through the holidays, the bag becoming part of the gift type thing.
  6. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Hey! A really cheap but nice looking platter - take a block of cream cheese at room temperature and put it on a large plate, a can of those tiny baby shrimp (drained) and pour it on top, then take ketchup and horseradish and make a cocktail sauce (this way you can make it as strong or mild as you like) and pour that on top of the whole thing. Place crackers around it, put a knife on the tray and you're done.

    It even looks festive because it's red! ;)

    I also mix a brick of cream cheese, marshmallow fluff, 1/4 cup of sugar and a capful of vanilla in a bowl and put it out as a fruit dip - it tastes like you're dipping fruit into a cheesecake. Just takes a couple of minutes and is DELICIOUS!

    Sounds like a lot of fun!

  7. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Beth, that fruit dip sounds delicious. I tend to be lazy and use vanilla yogurt as a fruit dip. My favourite brand is Astro Source 0%. It's fat free, low sugar and tastes like dessert.
  8. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Tempting...very tempting. I haven't been out your way in a couple of years now, and I miss it. Especially in the winter. Although it's cold as blazes, you don't get the nasty filthy city snow like we do down here.
  9. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    That fruit dip sounds divine! I'm trying to figure out how I could make something as delicious as that with absolutely zero sugar. Our cookies are all going to be made sugar free, and there will nothing served to eat or drink that has sugar (unless folks want some in tea/coffee, though I use sweetener lol). I'd love to make a decedent dip for a fruit platter. Wonder if I sleuth the net if I can find something special. Hmmm, I'm going hunting lol.

    Trinity, so true that we get to avoid the city slush and muck up this way. It always seems so pristine and beautiful when the trees are covered in thick snow layers and the snow banks are piled up etc. I was teasing yet hey, I'd love to meet you and you are more than welcome if you are up for a drive, to come by. I'd so love that!!!
  10. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Mattsmom, this is the yogurt I mentioned, that I use for fruit dip. It's not 100% sugar free, but it might be worth checking the nutrition facts to see if it meets your needs. http://www.yoplait.ca/source/en/brasse_stirred.aspx#
    If that doesn't work, then I would suggest adapting Beth's recipe as follows:
    • replace the cream cheese with light cream cheese
    • replace the marshmallow fluff with fat free/sugar free pudding (also available at the Superstore / No Frills etc.)
    • use Splenda instead of sugar

    It won't be quite the same, but it should be delicious.

    I wish I could join you. I still think we should try to plan a CD Board North gathering, for the Canadians and those in the northern states (any of you from NY, Michigan etc. up for a road trip?).
  11. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    How much marshmallow fluff?
  12. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    I live in N. Wisconsin. It'd be easier for me to get to Canada than to either of our coastal areas or the deep south, for example. The only issue would be having to drive around Lake Superior to the nearest border crossing.
  13. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    I think I'm going to try your adaption of the dip, make a small amount to see if it works first. Thanks!

    A board get together to the north here would be fantastic! I could go anywhere near the border if the timing is right. Some nice places as options. Why is it so easy to picture a visit in Niagara Falls, and a bus tour of the wineries for samples ???? Hmm ....
  14. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    That's exactly the sort of thing I'm thinking...Niagara Falls...nice border crossing location. Lots to see and do, not too far to travel for those heading south or north...this has potential.
  15. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    I'm only a few hours from the Detroit crossing, but Hibernator can't go across and I don't have anyone that could watch her for more than a few hours.
  16. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Well you just knew I'd have a story for this.

    I'm artistic. I love cookies. Although lately? I have been doing the no sugar low sugar thing so cookie exchanges save to say for me and my house are a thing of the past. Unless I would want to have a pants exchange in January. I had a friend or so-called friend that I dearly loved. I thought the world of her and then one day for no particular reason she just switched gears and had a new batch of friends, started dodging me, and I got the hint. UNTIL Christmas time. I felt a little vindicated, but upon arrival at her enormous home I see many, many new cars in her drive. I thought perhaps relatives? Nope...new friends. Interesting as she had told me months prior, she had NO time to do the things we used to do, but here I am invited to a cookie party.

    Now the part that you are probably interested in. The house was decorated to the nines. There was festive music, decorations, Wassail (I thought that was cool as no one had ever smelled it let alone tasted it), hot cider with cinnamon sticks. Unusual things that made it memorable so that when you left and years later if that item was mentioned your mind went back to HER party. Still does. I can actually say I've had Wassail. I have WASSAILED. I went a wassailing. (snort - sounds a holidayish doesn't it?) Okay so beyond the incredible smell there was finger foods like hollowed out bread loaf with spinach dip, parmasean and dill crackers (very easy to make and very addictive) a candy tier with holiday chocolates -again stuff you hardly ever see and things that she had made - dipped pretzel sticks white and chocolate with drizzled red and green chocolate over them. Home made candy canes, and she had bags - colorful gift bags and tins for all of us to take home our cookies in. Lunch meats, summer sausage, mustards - cheese sliced, cubed - It was a lot of variety. There was about 20 of us there. Nothing hard to clean up - Easy-Peasy she kept saying. The pre-and set up was the hard thing.

    So we all bring our own dough. Enough to make at least 5 dozen cookies. That way each person got a variety of cookies. (she had 2 ovens going all the time). We started at I think 4:30-5:00 and got done around 10 - cleaned up and dishes dried.

    When it came time to color and decorate the sugar cookies? Like I said - I'm artistic and everyone was asked to bring at least ONE decorative topping. Silver balls, or sugar shake, or snow flakes, whatever - So there was a bakery variety that you would not have unless you were a gozillionaire. And I went to town. Well - you could tell which ones were mine. (not braggin just sayin) and as they hardened and dried (tables set up in the garage) there was a crew that was packing the tins (everyone had a place-card in front of where their cookies were hardening and drying and their tins had names on them so the packing crew was boxing and wax papering them). They were done baking first.

    I go out to get MY cookies - and there was my so-called friend taking MY cookies, and replacing them with HERs and I just stood there. She was NOT an artist I said - "Whats up?" So she turns and hands me my tin and says "Well I know that your family is just going to gobble these down right away.....and I wanted to take yours, because they're so pretty and display them because I have guests coming to my house." I honestly didn't know what to say. Her attempt at flattery was flat at best and pathetic at worst. The other new friends just stood there, looking at me, then back at her, and so I took the tin and to add injury to insult she said "Well what? They all taste the same." and walked off.

    That's the last time I went to her house. I did get invited once more for a white elephant gift exchange.....but after that cookie debacle I just couldn't think of ANYTHING more white elephant than her attitude - so I declined. I also heard that another friend I got dumped for went to her house shortly after and let her have it with both barrels about what kind of a mean, overbearing, manipulative, me, me, me person she is. So she called me and asked me "Do you believe her?" I said "Do you really want to know? Or do you want me to continue to love you for the way you are?" Haven't heard from her mmm in almost six months. Ever since she was called and asked to take my job, and I overheard the conversation just before I was let go of my job - and when I confronted her about it? She lied to me.

    So that's my cookie exchange story - but it won't be yours. Highly recommend looking for and sharing the odd things - The wassail was awesome. Smells the whole house up nicely. The variety of pre-made cookie dough cuts down on time too.

    I hope yours is an awesome evening. PS - even a toaster oven offers one more way to cook - AND you can always have someone bring NO - bake cookie dough or rice crispie goo.