With the holidays approaching it is easy to start thinking of all the wonderful traditions and celebrations that come along with this joyous season.

One tradition that seems to become more popular each year is the Cookie Exchange. My Mother started this tradition in our family and this year will be our 4th annual exchange.

This has become a welcome obligation during the mad rush of the holidays. It provides a chance to relax, unwind and catch up with friends and family (without children and husbands). The attendance rate is quite impressive, and it is a fantastic way to recharge for the all hustle and bustle.

Ready to host your own?┬áStart by sending out invitations (via Evite or mail), include a list of ground rules. Here’s an example:

  1. All cookies or candy should be homemade.
  2. Please bring 6 dozen total cookies to share with other guests.
  3. Arrange cookies in a basket or platter and be creative. Bring a large container to carry away your cookies (Host: you can provide a take away container. Last year we provided plastic shoe boxes and tissue paper)
  4. Email a copy of your recipe before the party.
  5. Christmas (or theme) attire is encouraged.
  6. RSVP as soon as you can and let me know what type of cookies you are planning on baking – no duplicate recipes allowed.
  7. If you don’t have time to bake, or have burnt your cookies, still come. Just head to a bakery and buy 6 dozen yummy cookies.

Be sure to provide delicious food and drinks for your guests to enjoy. One year we sipped mimosa’s and snacked on a light brunch. Another year we had wine, cheese, crackers and finger sandwiches.

Each year my Mother has required the recipes to be sent ahead of time so she can put them in a book she creates for each guest. Consider putting together a book or newsletter using a publishing program such as Microsoft Publisher. You can create a memento that guests will be sure to hold on to for many years to come.

Don’t forget to have your camera handy, capture candid moments between your guests, snap pictures of all the cookies. Most importantly, take a group picture, you will cherish it always.

This may sound like a daunting task to throw into your holiday mix but it is well worth the effort. It can be simple too, you don’t have to go over the top. You and your guests will welcome this tradition, it is well needed time for just the girls to relax and enjoy.