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Holiday Parties: Even Santa Loves Cookie Swaps

Published: November 20, 2013

The holidays are all about entertaining - but multiple parties can strain calendars and budgets. So why not consider hosting a cookie swap. These provide a great opportunity for you to catch up with your friends and their friends, and can even help you prepare for more entertaining.

Cookie swaps are simple. Each guest brings enough baked goods for everyone to enjoy at the party, plus extras to take home. Often guests will share their prized recipes as well.

It takes organization

The key to a good cookie swap is organization. The RSVP deadline matters; the number of people attending will determine how many cookies each guest needs to bring. The more mouths to feed, the fewer items each individual needs to contribute. Cookie swap pros also suggest that you ask what people are bringing and communicate that to the others: Otherwise you may be overloaded with sugar cookies or gingerbread Santas.

Balance sweet with savory
It's not just about sweet treats. Cheese and crackers, and veggies and dip are a relief from all those sweets, and, of course, you'll provide choices of liquid refreshment.

A cookie swap provides a good opportunity to pick up new recipes but also to dust off oldies but goldies - and spruce them up. Add festive decorations to your classic brownies, use seasonal cookie cutters and make squares with red and green cereal available only at holiday time. Candy canes crumbled into chocolate hazelnut spread makes a gooey - and easy - treat.

Good uses for extras
Even though your kids may not be invited to the party, they can participate in the baking beforehand - and they'll be sure to enjoy eating the proceeds of your swap. While you're at it, don't forget to freeze extras to pull out when you're asked to contribute to bake sale fundraisers, or to share with those who don't, or can't, bake.

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