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The life and times of a home schooling mom of se7en + 1.

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Clearly Christmas: A Christmas Cookie Swap in Se7en Steps…

December 12th, 2008 · 7 Comments

One of our Christmas Traditions is to have a cookie swap the last Sunday before Christmas. We invite almost everyone we know and certainly everyone we bump into leading up to it… And yes I can sense you reeling in horror – “Who in their right minds would do this?”… Turns out it is a great way to get to see all the people we would like to see at this time of year – at once… That’s it – it is the at once factor that appeals to me… So we have this huge bash and the rest of the time between Christmas and New Year is pretty much our own – down time for the father person and hanging by the pool for hoods.

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Not only do we get to see a heap of friends and everyone gains a bunch of cookies, but we donate a package of cookies from every family to a local Aids Community Clinic… My kids love the whole experience, they have a great party with all their friends and the next day we take all the cookies round to the clinic to donate. It is an easy way for them to genuinely learn that it is better give than to receive without us having to spell it out.

Before we get going with the party lets look at se7en cookie recipes, just to get your creative juices going:

So here we go A Christmas Cookie Swap in Se7en Steps…

The most important thing to remember: Keep it simple – really.

Step 1: Invitation:

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Choose a cookie photograph: we have used countless cookies: a chocolate chip cookie, a gingerbread man… Then include the obvious when and where kind of information. And this is important: explain what people need to bring…

  • 1 dozen cookies packed and ready to donate and
  • 2 dozen cookies ready to swap.

That way every family donates a prepackage of cookies and every family gets to choose 2 dozen cookies they didn’t bake to take home for when friends pop in. (Except my kids always choose the cookies I bake back again!)

Step 2: Party Starter:

As guests arrive they need a place to put their cookies… keep donate-ables and swap-ables separate and to avoid disaster keep all cookies away from any food you are serving.

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Now if you know me then you know I loathe clutter and stuff… and believe me Christmas decorations are mostly clutter and stuff… I bring our box of decorations out the night before the party – huge heady excitement, obviously! Here is the party starter: Leave the decorations in a bowl beside the tree: Guess what you tree will be decorated in a flash. I have a friend with teenage daughters who have done a fantastic tree like this for me, year after year. I guess what I am saying is things don’t have to be perfect – let guests have some ownership of the party too.

And I will blog about another party soon that gets all the decorations packed away and ready for the next year!!!

Step 3: Party Games:

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I guess the party game of all games is the actual swap… hand everyone a plate or container and let them march around the cookies picking their two dozen to take home. I usually suggest no more than two or three of a particular cookie so that everyone gets a chance to sample the wares. I have always had an abundance of cookies and people generally take home a whole lot more than 2 dozen per family.

Step 4: Party Craft:

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The obvious party craft is of course cookie decorating and I have blogged enough about that… So let me give you a decorating hint for when you have 7 kids and their 30 best friends round to decorate cookies…

  • If you are putting hundreds and thousands on the cookies then sprinkle them once the cookies are on the baking tray and gently press them onto each cookie with your finger – before baking, so the sprinkles don’t fall off. 

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  • If the kids are frosting the cookies and then sprinkling, let them put their frosted cookies in a lunch box before they sprinkle. That way the excess lands in the box, and their will be lots which can be recycled back into the sprinkle pile.

Step 5: Party Pinata:

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This kind of party doesn’t really need a pinata. Try telling my kids that!!! But what I do is, before we swap, I give each family a disposable cookie container and experience has shown that a large cardboard cake box works best. I ask them to decorate their container uniquely before we do the actual swap. This sure lessens the chances of someone going home with someone else’s cookie choice. And everyone goes home with a ready-made party-pack.

Step 6: Party Food:

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Make sure that whatever food you serve it has absolutely no relation to cookies – just to avoid confusion. And if you are having a lot of guests over you want lots of finger foods and no dishes! Remember also that a party needs just one food and one beverage to be a success… We are in the middle of blazing summer here, so I serve summer fruits and lemonade. Typically the summer fruits I serve are a big bowl of grapes, big bunches are broken into small groups of two or three grapes; or a bowl of bite-size and de-pipped watermelon, cherries from Chart Farm and strawberries from Stellenbosch. That’s it nothing to heat or store specially – in fact nearly no preparation!

Step 7: Treasure Hunt and party-packs:

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As I said before every-one’s cookies in their boxes are their party packs. I usually have a bowl of little tiny party favours… like erasers, pretty pencils, a glitter pen, tiny decorations or whatever and let everyone choose one… One year we made crazy cookie crayons, really easy and quick and fun. But this gives me an idea – this year the little treats will definitely be hidden and scavenged!

That’s it – have fun and party on!

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Tags: Plenty of Parties · Special Occasion Parties

7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Christmas Party Online » Blog Archive » Clearly Christmas: A Christmas Cookie Swap in Se7en Steps… | se7en // Dec 12, 2008 at 11:09 am

    […] unknown wrote an interesting post today onClearly Christmas: A Christmas Cookie Swap in Se7en Stepsâ?¦ | se7enHere’s a quick excerptI guess the party game of all games is the actual swap… hand everyone a plate or container and let them march around the cookies picking their two dozen to take home. I usually suggest no more than two or three of a particular cookie so … […]

  • 2 Hot Christmas Online » Blog Archive » Clearly Christmas: A Christmas Cookie Swap in Se7en Steps… | se7en // Dec 12, 2008 at 11:22 am

    […] unknown wrote an interesting post today onClearly Christmas: A Christmas Cookie Swap in Se7en Stepsâ?¦ | se7enHere’s a quick excerptMy kids love the whole experience, they have a great party with all their friends and the next day we take all the cookies round to the clinic to donate. It is an easy way for them to genuinely learn that it is better give than to … […]

  • 3 Big Family Christmas » Blog Archive » Clearly Christmas: A Christmas Cookie Swap in Se7en Steps… | se7en // Dec 12, 2008 at 11:47 am

    […] unknown wrote an interesting post today onClearly Christmas: A Christmas Cookie Swap in Se7en Stepsâ?¦ | se7enHere’s a quick excerptClearly Christmas: A Kids Christmas Craft Party in Se7en Steps. The wonderful thing about craft parties is that the kids… A Baby Shower in Se7en Steps… I have been blogging about babies and The La Leche. … […]

  • 4 Saturday Spot & Clearly Christmas:The Box… | se7en // Dec 21, 2008 at 3:23 am

    […] Saturday before Christmas and if you are a follower of our blog you will know that tomorrow is our Christmas Cookie swap. Traditionally we bring our decorations out on this day and the kids go to bed wondering if tomorrow […]

  • 5 Clearly Christmas: Advent Week 3… | se7en // Dec 27, 2008 at 8:19 am

    […] Card: Had our Cookie Swap Party – it was so hot that I never took any photos – not one. And nearly no-one came. It turned out to be […]

  • 6 Se7en Do Christmas: Step Six – Calendar Planning and Traditions… | se7en // Dec 16, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    […] Cookie Swap: We have been cookie swapping for years and when we started out I was very pedantic about everything being home-baked. And then I had a few kids. Now I am less discerning! Bring store bought and if you can’t stand another outing – no problem just give us the cookies to donate. If you can’t stand the thought of cookies bought or baked, no problem just visit us. Really the last Sunday before Christmas is the day we have our friends stop by… we love it, the kids love it and generally we end up with a bunch of cookies that we donate the next day. […]

  • 7 Sunday Snippet: Giving and Receiving… The Parables… | se7en // Dec 22, 2009 at 1:46 am

    […] Serving others is just as much a donation. They spent last week baking cookies to donate for our cookie swap – that was fun!!! Donating and volunteering to help is often […]

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