How to Host a Cookie Exchange Party

’Tis the season for giving! What better way to spread joy this holiday season than with good friends and good cookies? Hosting a holiday cookie swap is a fun way to sample cookies, discover new recipes, and catch up with friends and loved ones.

How to Do a Cookie Exchange

If you’ve never hosted a cookie exchange party before or simply need a refresher, we’ll discuss how to host a cookie exchange, how to set up the cookie exchange rules, and explore a few of our favorite holiday cookie recipes and cookie exchange ideas to make your party a success. 


We recommend inviting about six to eight people when planning a cookie party. This way, you’ll have a variety of cookies without requiring your guests to make multiple batches. Typically, a cookie recipe will make about 24 cookies. You should ask your guests to RSVP with the type of cookie they plan to bring to avoid duplicates. And remember to ask each guest to bring copies of their recipe to share with everyone. It’s a great way to discover new cookie recipes to add to your holiday baking!


Tip: Guests attending a cookie exchange should bring a gift for the party host.

Choose Your Cookies

As requested on the invite, each guest should plan to make a different kind of cookie. Have your guests bring two dozen cookies: most for swapping and a few extra for sampling. You may suggest they choose cookie recipes that are not thin or delicate for easy packing.

Tip: Keep track of who is bringing which type of cookie to ensure a delicious variety for your guests.

A person using a spatula to transfer holiday shaped gingerbread cookies from a parchment lined baking sheet to a wire cooling rack

Bake the Cookies!

Bake your recipe on a cookie sheet lined with Reynolds Kitchens® Parchment Paper the day before the cookie swap. Our non-stick parchment paper with SmartGrid® lines helps to make the perfect batch—cookies cook more evenly and slide off without breaking. Plus, you can reuse your parchment paper up to three times to make multiple batches. When the cookies are done, simply slide the cookies from the parchment lined baking sheet onto a wire rack, and your cookie sheet will be ready for the next batch.


Tip: It’s recommended to bring homemade cookies to parties instead of store-bought ones. Additionally, keep track of the ingredients used so common allergens like nuts, gluten, and dairy can be labeled.

Peppermint cookies displayed on a platter and tin container

Prepare for the Party

You’ll need a big table or countertop to display all the cookie varieties and a packaging station for guests to wrap up their cookies to take home. Make sure you have containers, cookie tins, boxes, or bags readily available, or you can request that your party guests bring their own. Have plenty of Reynolds Kitchens® parchment paper or wax paper on hand to line the containers, separate layers of cookies, and keep the cookies from sticking to each other. Adding decorative touches to your packages, such as tags, ribbons, and twine, and including fun scissors and paper punches to make tags and labels will make the experience even more cheerful. And don’t forget to serve some festive drinks and hearty nibbles with your sweets!

Swap the Cookies!

Set up several platters or cake stands for guests to place cookies on for sampling. If you have the recipes, display them with the cookies. Now comes the best part—everyone gets a chance to taste the goodies! Would you like to include a fun competition or game? You could vote on the best-tasting cookies, the best-looking cookies, or any other categories you choose. Make sure you print up some voting ballots before the party and include some prizes! When it’s time to swap, divide the remaining cookies among you and your guests. Then, use the packaging station to create beautifully wrapped containers of cookies for your guests to bring home.

Tip: For convenient takeaway cookie containers for your guests, use Reynolds Kitchens® Disposable Bakeware with Lids. In addition, Reynolds Kitchens® Baking Cups make easy cookie separators if the cookies are small enough to fit inside the cups.

Create Holiday Cookie Exchange Rules

If you’re planning a cookie exchange party, it’s a good idea to set friendly guidelines everyone can follow and enjoy. Feel free to customize this list for your own cookie exchange rules. 

Example Rules: 

  • RSVP by [DATE] with your chosen cookie 
  • All cookies should be homemade. If a cookie mishap or disaster happens, local bakery goods will also be accepted. 
  • Please bring: 
    • Two dozen or more cookies, enough for at least three cookies per guest (This amount is perfect for planning a party of six to eight guests. You may want to increase the amount if you have additional guests.) 
    • A label for your cookies with all ingredients or any allergens. Don’t include your name on the label. 
    • Recipe cards or copies of your recipe for sharing 
    • Container and supplies for transporting your swapped cookies (or the host can provide) 
  • Festive attire is encouraged. Wear your ugly sweaters or holiday pajamas! 
  • Each guest will anonymously vote for their favorite cookies in the following categories: best-tasting cookies, best-looking cookies, most creative, most unusual (or other categories you desire). 
  • Cookies with the most votes win. The winner from each category gets a designated prize.

How to Package Cookies for a Cookie Exchange

There are plenty of fun cookie exchange packaging ideas. For guests, determine how to transport your cookies to and from the holiday cookie exchange party. You can use the same container but may also want to plan on leftover cookies. Sometimes, your host will provide containers. It’s a good idea to double-check if you need to bring your own. 

Here are a few cookie exchange packaging ideas: 

If you want to line your container, separate layers of cookies, or create individually wrapped Christmas cookies, you can use the following: 

Oat bars wrapped in wax paper and tied with twine

How to Wrap Cookies in Parchment Paper or Wax Paper

Wrap your cookies in the cutest way possible with Reynolds Kitchens® Parchment Paper or Reynolds Kitchens® Cut-Rite® Wax Paper. Stack up several cookies right in the center of a sheet of wax or parchment paper. Fold the paper around your cookies like a gift package and tie it with a colorful ribbon. It’s a festive way to wrap your cookies as gifts or to store them neatly in a container.

Cookies topped with a white chocolate drizzle and crushed peppermint on a baking sheet lined with unbleached parchment paper

Easy Holiday Cookie Recipes and Ideas

Need an impressive and mouthwatering holiday cookie swap recipe? We’ve got you covered. The best part about making these easy holiday cookies is that they look incredible, taste heavenly, and don’t have complicated recipes!

Caramel Surprise Cookies 

Using pre-made sugar cookie dough is an easy holiday cookie shortcut, but it’s still home-baked! Check out these simple and scrumptious treats

Cherry Pie Cookies 

Bite-size cherry pies are easy as, well, pie! This holiday season, impress your cookie exchange party friends with these juicy, delicious pastry-like cookies. 

Brown Sugar Shortbread Holiday Cookies 

Make the party a celebration with a stack of delicious brown sugar shortbread cookies. With a little bit of icing and a stunning presentation, these easy holiday cookies will taste as good as they look. 

Crackle Candy Sugar Cookies 

With a mystery “crackly” center, these crackle candy cookies will surely surprise anyone who takes a bite. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to make these cookies with a secret shortcut—premade sugar cookie dough. 

White Chocolate Cranberry Pistachio Cookies 

These cookies have a delicious blend of white chocolate and pistachio, with an added twist of whiskey-soaked cranberries, making them perfect for an adult treat. 

Spicy Hot-Chocolate Cookies 

Comin’ in hot to the cookie swap! These spicy and sweet hot chocolate cookies will warm the guests’ hearts at any cookie exchange party. 

Fudgy Brownie Cookies 

A fudgy brownie as a cookie? Yes, please. Everyone will want to take these home for the holidays. After they’re baked, add some crushed candy canes on top to take them to the next level! 

White Chocolate Red Velvet Cookies 

Shh…don’t tell anyone, but these luscious cookies are made with chocolate pudding mix, giving them a rich, melt-in-your-mouth texture. Their white chocolate red velvet flavor is so delicious that no one at the party will believe how easy they are to make. 

Giant Ginger Snap Cookies 

When it comes to cookies, size matters, and there’s nothing quite like a giant, flavorful ginger snap cookie to get you in the holiday spirit. You will certainly win first prize for making the biggest cookie at the holiday cookie swap! 

Chocolate Cookie Cut-Outs with Marshmallow Frosting 

Crispy on the edges and soft in the center, these chocolate cookies are topped with sweet and creamy marshmallow frosting. To add a little extra pizzazz, finish them with some shredded coconut that looks pretty and tastes fantastic! 

Lemon Crinkle Cookies 

Like little snowballs of citrus flavor, these lemony cookies will liven up everyone’s taste buds at the holiday cookie swap. We think it’s safe to say that just one bite of these luscious cookies won’t be enough. 

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies 

A delightful twist on a classic. These cookies incorporate sweet caramel-filled chocolate candies, dark chocolate, and a finishing sprinkle of sea salt for a fabulous sweet and salty cookie combination.

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