Country Sampler Special Edition
10 Steps to Sweet Success
Select a date that works for you and your guests, but make sure it’s close enough to Christmas that the cookies will last until then. Mail or hand out paper invitations (there are many cute templates available online), or send an email invite.
Ask guests to bring several dozen of their favorite homemade cookies. A good rule of thumb is to plan for a dozen to share and a dozen for each guest attending the event. For example, if you’re hosting six friends, each should bring about 7–8 dozen cookies. This can be scaled down as well. If you know a guest has a food allergy, communicate that to others who will be attending.
Request the recipes in advance so you can make sure there won’t be duplicates. This also allows you to create labels and a mini recipe book or individual recipe cards for each guest to take home.
On the day of the swap, set up a table with ample space for each fresh-baked offering, making sure guests have room to fill their containers as they move through the buffet. Decorate your table with festive linens and other decor that suits your theme.
Label each cookie type with a card, sign or tag. You can design and frame cards that match your invitations, or just write the names on mini chalkboards.
Prepare a light menu, including some savory snacks or appetizers to counter the sweets. These can be as simple as a cheese and cracker plate or veggies and dip.
Tailor your beverage offerings to your guest list and the time of day—if it’s an adultsonly evening affair, you might serve a bit of bubbly or a signature cocktail. For the afternoon, a selection of coffee and tea will do. A hot chocolate bar is another option. And don’t forget some milk for those who enjoy that traditional pairing.
When it’s trading time, provide guests with containers in which to collect their takeaway treats. Hand out stickers, pens or other supplies that will allow them to label the filled containers or package the cookies to give as gifts.
Have guests line up and walk around the table one at a time to fill their containers.
If you have younger guests attending, consider a DIY cookie decorating station with premade sugar cookies, icing and sprinkles to keep little hands busy while the older guests select their cookies.