With the holidays coming up and the invites to cookie exchange parties rolling in, it’s that time of year to make dozens of cookies, bring them to your friend’s house, and swap ‘em for dozens of other cookies. Here are some tips for how to enjoy yourself and establish dominance over fellow nonprofessional bakers this Cookie Exchange Party Season.
Plan In Advance
• Announce what you’re bringing weeks ahead via hand-embossed cards sent to all your fellow invitees.
• Break the rules—don’t let the words “cookie swap” feel like a restriction. Why not bring fudge bites, fruit tartlets, individual dessert quiches, rustic apple cinnamon quinoa bites, monkey bread miniatures with buttery vanilla glaze, or salad?
• Find out what Sheila-Ann is bringing and then make the same thing. Tell her everyone knew you were bringing simple shortbread squares with lingonberry jam (even though that’s not true!) and shame her for being out of the loop.
Day Of The Swap
• Spit-shine your cookie tins to give them a generous glow.
• Ask if you can arrive early to lend a hand, then focus all that extra time on your own plates to make sure they look nicer than Sheila-Ann’s
• Be the hero of the party—bring your own table leaf. If the host already has one insist that they please use yours since you both know it’s higher quality
Lay It All Out
• Bring display cards not only for your own cookies but also for everyone else’s. If you don’t know what cookies someone is bringing just write something like “Sheila-Ann’s trash cookies, don’t eat these!”
• Set a scene with your cookies—let the shapes and placement tell a story. Whose stocking is that? In what city or town will that snowflake fall? When will everyone understand they need to keep their greedy grubby hands off your stunning masterpiece?
Work The Room
• As soon as everyone arrives to the party, abruptly announce a previously undisclosed tree nut allergy. Tell them you were just diagnosed and that the doctor says anyone who brought cookies with nuts should throw them straight in the garbage just to be safe.
• If any guests try to bring up holiday stress, declare that you don’t have any. You finished all your shopping in October and did it all online for very little money.
• Five words: “Actually, those are carob chips.”
• In your most condescending voice, deliver non-complimentary statements about all remaining cookie plates: “Gingerbread? How seasonal!” “Wow Sheila-Ann, that plate looks so red!”
Make A Clean Exit
• Tell everyone you have to leave early to go to another friend’s cookie exchange which means that also they can’t take any of your cookies, sorry, because they are for the other (better) friend’s exchange.
• Bring a garbage bag into which you can quickly throw cookies if anyone’s being a jerk to you about your very busy schedule of commitments.
• Thank Sheila-Ann for having you over at her house by offering to recommend a good painter to paint over that ugly color in the kitchen.