By April Dawn White
This weekend I hosted a no-fuss holiday cookie exchange at my house. Still new to the neighborhood, this gathering gave me the opportunity to get to know those around me in an intimate informal setting. Michael Buble’ holiday tunes played in the background, the Christmas tree twinkled with bubble lights, and the mulled cider simmered in aromatic delight. I moved a few dining room chairs into to the living room for extra seating. However, as in most homes, we gathered the kitchen and ate, swapped stories, conversations, and discovered connections.
Five Steps to a No Fuss Cookie Exchange:
- Mail self-printed invitations. For my cookie exchange, I invited neighbors, some of whom I had not met yet. Because I did not have their contact information, I snail mailed invitations. I asked each guest to bring an appetizer to share and three dozen cookies (baked or store-bought) to exchange.
- Clean the house. This was a great excuse to have my teenagers thoroughly clean their rooms and for their chores to completed to my level of satisfaction.
- Assemble food and drink. Since carbohydrates are commonplace appetizers, I chose to prepare protein-packed appetizers such as crockpot meatballs and deviled eggs. I made mint cookie truffles and oatmeal peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. (To avoid allergic reactions, I recommend labeling cookies.) For beverages, I served coffee, stove top mulled spice cider, and orange infused the water.
- Set the table. I tossed a red and green tartan tablecloth on the table along with my red plates and silverware. Because I prefer to eat off real plates and silverware, the only paper products I purchased were snowflake napkins. Instead of handing guests plastic up and marker to indicate their cup, I invited everyone to choose from my eclectic variety of coffee mugs.
- Exchange cookies. There are no rules to the cookie exchange. The number of cookies one brings, the number of cookies you exchange, give or take a few we eat along the way.
As neighbors arrived conversation and coffee flowed as the table filled up with yummy goodness. We discovered bizarre small world connections made in my home. I learned my kindergarten teacher’s daughter is my neighbor. And another neighbor is the aunt to my pastor’s wife.
You too can host a no-fuss holiday cookie exchange. I believe we put too much pressure on being the perfect host rather than practicing hospitality. There was nothing extraordinary about this gathering, except that people rarely host in-home parties anymore. The goal was to get together and enjoy each other’s company, not host a Pinterest perfect event. I encourage you to open your home for an informal gathering and see what friendships what happens next.