Cookie Exchange

It has been a long established tradition in many families to celebrate the holiday season with copious displays of holiday cookies.  In past generations cookie baking was a family tradition where generations of women would gather in the kitchen on late autumn afternoons or evenings, pull out the old family favorite recipes and make batch after delicious batch of peanut butter, chocolate chip, vanilla drops and many other highly prized cookies.  Many of these recipes only saw the light of day during the holidays or, perhaps, for a special occasion throughout the year.  Moms were quite good at packaging cookies for the freezer or in airtight containers to last during the holiday season.  If they did run out unexpectedly, most moms were more than willing to whip up another batch or two.

Recent generations have found that mom is less likely to be in the kitchen throughout the day.  More often than not, when she returns from the a long day at the office, prepares dinner for her family and takes care of a dozen other obligations in the evening, she has little time and less interest in whipping up a batch of snickerdoodles.  So, for those who still enjoy the generous traditions of holiday baked goods at their home when company arrives, there remains two choices:  purchase cookies at the bakery or grocery store or, participate in a cookie exchange.

There are two big advantages to cookie exchanges.  First, you can have plenty of cookies in a wide variety for your own holiday needs.  Second, the cookies you enjoy will all be homemade.  There is just something about the special taste and texture of homemade cookies with a glass of egg nog or warm milk during those joyous winter holiday parties that surpasses even the best bakery selections.  A cookie display, especially a homemade one, is a popular and attractive dessert spread.

Organizing a cookie exchange is easy.  Contact a group of your friends.  Say, for example, you and five of your friends agree to participate in a cookie exchange.  Each one of you agrees to make six dozen of your  favorite cookie recipe.  Each person keeps one dozen for themselves and gives one dozen to each of the other five people involved in the exchange.  At the end of the exchange each person has a variety tray of six dozen cookies.  You can work this number up or down, depending on the number of participants you can entice. 

Oftentimes, people build the exchange around a get-together or luncheon.  Everyone contributes something to the festivities: beverages, tea sandwiches, salads or desserts.  Cookie exchanges can be as big a part of holiday festivities as many of the other party experiences we love at this time. Offices, church groups and recreational facilities are great gathering places for people hoping to organize a cookie exchange.  Busy working people are often up for anything that will help them maximize their holiday celebration while minimizing the effort they must put forth.  All it really takes is one afternoon of effort on the part of each individual involved to bake their batch of cookies and everyone can recreate that wonderful cookie spread that was so commonplace back when Mom spent more time in the kitchen.