Christmas Cookie Exchange Party
December 21, 2018
2 tiered mix ins for a hot chocolate station at Christmas Cookie Exchange Party
Christmas Cookie exchange party ideas

Host a Fabulously Fun Christmas Cookie Exchange Party

I have ALWAYS wanted to do a Christmas Cookie Exchange party during the holidays but have never gotten it done til now. If you've been on the fence I urge you to try it out next year. It's not as tough as it seems so stick with me as I give you tips and suggestions to host a fabulously fun cookie exchange with friends and family without a ton of stress OR money!

Christmas Cookie Exchange Party Invitation

Your first order of business is to choose a theme and find a fun invitation. I have a confession to make. I ordered invitations before I decided on a gingerbread theme. Typically you want the invite to introduce the overall party theme and give guests an idea of what to expect. But when I found this cute one at Basic Invites is the moment I decided to host a cookie exchange so I went for it! Make sure to include instructions like “Bring a dozen cookies to share” or whatever you've decided.

Holiday Cookie Exchange Christmas Party Invitation with cookies and pinecones

Basic Invite also has a fun line of Holiday greeting cards. You can see some of my favorites in this post. The best part is you can customize everything: colors, fonts, and wording. It's awesome.

Decorate Your Table

Table decorated with Gingerbread houses and candy for a Christmas Cookie Exchange Party

Now a decorated table is completely optional if you're not into party styling. But this is my favorite part. Depending on your wealth of existing Christmas decor this can be as easy as shopping your house, OR you may need to pick up a few things to pull your theme together.

Gingerbread Christmas place setting for a Christmas Cookie Exchange Party

Decide on a color scheme and see what you ALREADY have. I went with red, teal, and gingerbread brown. But then found napkins, table runner, and plates at Target Dollar Spot, that added a little more pop and I ran with it!

Decorated table for a Christmas Cookie Exchange Party

So be flexible when you come across the perfect thing. Don't feel confined in your theme, just use it as a guide.

Cookie Exchange Centerpieces

What exactly is a cookie centerpiece? I thought it would be fun to have gingerbread houses down the center of the table. But since putting houses together was part of the activity I looked around for other options.

Felt gingerbread tree centerpiece on decorated table for a Christmas Cookie Exchange Party

A wool felted gingerbread looking Christmas tree gave height to my table. Find something tall-ish for the very center.

Gingerbread bard decoration on table for a Christmas Cookie Exchange Party

Then stagger the heights of your items as you work your way to the ends of the table. Gingerbread house decorations are fun holiday decor and this resin gingerbread barn is perfect. Found it at Michael's on sale and added mini lights inside.

Wooden gingerbread house centerpiece for a Christmas Cookie Exchange Party

This wooden house is simple and inexpensive but worked well with both houses placed on a mini cake stands complimenting each other.

Gingerbread house and starlight mints for a Christmas Cookie Exchange Party

The final houses are simply free printables on cardstock I put together myself. It doesn't have to be expensive to look really cute! You can snag those over at Making Life Blissful as part of her “Light the World” service ideas. Now that your table is all set and ready to go….let's welcome our guests!

Welcome Guests & Place Cookies

Peanut Butter Blossom cookies on cake plate for a Christmas Cookie Exchange Party

Have a place set up for guest to place cookies as they arrive. Set out cake plates and platters for each family to place their cookies. We only had 1 dozen each so this was an easy task. For parties where people bring 6 dozen, it'll be easier to just leave them in whatever container they arrived in until it's time to package them.

As the hostess I made 2 dozen so we had enough to eat a few. My holiday favorites are Peanut Butter Blossoms. And I had to make my Grandmother's thumbprint cookies.

Cookies on cake plate with boxes for a Christmas Cookie Exchange Party

You’ll also want to think through how everyone will transport their assorted cookies back home. I found these amazing cookie boxes at Zurchers but I can’t seem to find them online anywhere. They were the perfect size and the dividers make it really nice for a wide variety of cookies. Then dress up whatever box you find with a cute tag like these from 4 Hearts Paper Craft Co.

Cookie Exchange Dinner

Depending on the time of evening you might just want to stick with cookies and hot cocoa but I made this a girls night and we had a delicious dinner of White Bean Chicken Chili and cornbread before diving into our gingerbread houses. This chili recipe is one I take to every winter gathering! It's yummy, warm, and SOOO easy to make. In fact, each guest requested the recipe at our Christmas Cookie Exchange Party so I've added it here for easy reference.

Gingerbread straw topper in mug for a Christmas Cookie Exchange Party

But we didn't forget the hot chocolate. Dress up your mugs with fun straw toppers like these also from 4 Hearts Paper Craft Co. And string a cute ornament party favor through the handle for guests to take home after.

Set up a fun hot cocoa station with different flavored cocoas, cinnamon, sprinkles, crushed peppermint, marshmallows, candy cane stir sticks, and whipping cream. Then get on with building…

Gingerbread House Decorating

Mini gingerbread house kit for a Christmas Cookie Exchange Party Activity

Provide your guests with the gingerbread. Since our guests were all adults and the houses were mini, we built them together. If your guests include a large number of children, pre-assembling the houses will help reduce frustration and speed up the process.

We used a glass trivet as the plate, then a 6″ round cake board as the base so each guest could easily transport their creations. Give each guest a piping bag of icing “glue” and let them go to town.

Bowl of gumdrops for gingerbread houses from a Christmas Cookie Exchange Party

Then make sure you have lots of candy embellishments! I didn't take into account how small our houses were and several of our candies were too large to make sense. But one thing I love are snowman marshmallows for each “front yard”.

Bowl of candycanes and mini gingerbread house pieces for a Christmas Cookie Exchange Party

Now what's better than decorating a gingerbread house? As a mom, it's getting to decorate one WITHOUT my kids! One that can actually turn out pretty! Ok, well, my decorating skills are pretty limited so it's not that pretty, but I was inspired by all the amazing gingerbread creations at our local Festival of Trees event.

How about this lovely cottage? I've definitely got some gingerbread goals for the future!

Merry Christmas Cookies!

Cookies boxed up and ready to go from a Christmas Cookie Exchange Party

Now pack up your cookies and send everyone home with hugs and lots of sugar! If you are just sharing the cookies with a small number of families this is where the party stops.

If your whole goal is to create gift bags of cookies then this is where the fun begins….you'll need boxes, bags, and tags. Then have everyone go through and fill each box/bag adding a tag and placing the completed gift in a box marked for each family. Or you can do it assembly line style with a person stationed at each type of cookie and pass the boxes/bags down the line. Now your neighborhood gifts are done! That would be easy. But I of course didn't make it so easy. I decided to make mini gnomes as my neighborhood gift this year!

Gingerbread barn centerpiece on decorated table for a Christmas Cookie Exchange Party

I hope you enjoy your Christmas Cookie Exchange Party as much as we did! Did you have a family night? Girls night? Or a whole neighborhood gift night? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below.

Pin it for Later!

Christmas Cookie exchange party ideas collage

Additional Christmas Reading:

Have a very Merry Christmas my friend! Until next YEAR!!


  1. Lori

    I wish I was at this sweet party!! What a festive way to celebrate with friends!!

  2. Holly

    This looks fabulous! It’s been a few years since I’ve done a cookie exchange. I think I need to do one again! This year we adopted a family and did a wrapping party– that was fun, too! Can’t wait for your chili recipe– I’ve been wanting a good new one to try!

  3. Susan

    Seriously I need to come to one of your parties ! I mean how cute … all those yummy candies and treats are making me hungry !

  4. Sarina

    Everything looks beautiful!! I love all the pretty decoratings and that pop of blue!! Super fun!


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Gingerbread houses in a row as table runner centerpiece for a Christmas Cookie Exchange Party I’m Bri of Parties With A Cause. I’m a mother to three crazy awesome kids, interior designer, & party planning junky. I love reading, globe trotting, and frozen yogurt. And I’m elevating the party experience one cause at a time! Read More

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