How to host a holiday cookie exchange.

How to host a holiday cookie exchange.

 

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I have to say that I am truly blessed to live in one of the most amazing neighborhoods. We are the neighborhood that does bonfires, community parties, summer playdates, block parties and more!

When I tell others about how some of my closest friends are my neighbors, they are usually thrown off guard. Many respond with how little they know about their neighbors. They explain how they know maybe one or two neighbor tops; or do the quick wave-and-dash when they get home from work.

I have to be honest, we weren’t always this tight-knit neighborhood. It took a few years of brave people hosting events and making an effort to walk over and start friendly conversations. You never know who you will find that you connect with, or even create a few new friendships.

 

PC: Heather Olson
(PC: Heather Olson) – Holiday Treat Exchange 2015

 

PC: Heather Olson- 2016 Cookie Exchange
PC: Heather Olson- 2016 Cookie Exchange

 

So many women admit that it’s hard to find good female friendships once they reach adulthood. Especially if you spend your day in the home, raising kids or running an in-home business. You don’t get those interactions with co-workers or opportunities to make friends. You never know who lives next door, feeling the same way as you do. Plus, neighbors who know each other personally, will look out for one another.

The holidays are a  great time for ice breakers with neighbors. People are usually in a cheery mood, and it brings people out of their homes (at least in snowy Minnesota). You may be thinking “Yeah, Sarah that sounds great, but how do I host an event without seeming awkward?” or “What if no one comes?”

This is why you should host a holiday treat exchange! It tends to bring the women of the neighborhood together, and everyone brings something to contribute. Plus, talking about all the delicious treats are great conversation starters.

So as our 4th annual holiday treat exchange is upon us, I want to share with everyone how you can start your own! I started one in our neighborhood four years ago, and today it’s a tradition that still continues! (YAY!) It’s a lot of fun to see how it has grown and have different lovely ladies take turns hosting it each year!

 

PC: Heather Olson
PC: Heather Olson

 

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If your neighborhood is like mine, I made a Facebook invitation and posted in our neighborhood Facebook group for everyone to see. If you don’t personally know your neighbors (yet!), I would suggest printing off a few festive looking flyers and dropping them off in mailboxes. If you are worried that attendee numbers will be low, feel free to encourage neighbors to bring guests!

For the night of our treat exchange, we usually all sign up for a specific treat a ahead of time so there are no repeats. But if that is not an option, have guests just bring a favorite treat of their choice.

When it comes to deciding how much to bring, We have always done roughly bringing six treats per guest. So make sure you encourage guests to RSVP so you can let attendees know how many treats to make.

Want to add a little extra fun? Try having everyone vote on their favorites to win a little prize! Suggestions: crowd favorite, cutest packaging, & most original!

 

PC: Heather Olson - Treats all ready to bring home!
PC: Heather Olson – Treats all ready to bring home!

 

 

Here is some sample Invitation wording:

“Wish you had a variety of festive treats this holiday season? No time to bake all those different recipes? Let’s have a holiday treat exchange party!

How it works:
– You make roughly 1/2 dozen treats for each guest (i’ll leave it up to your judgement on amounts for smaller treats/ popcorn), plus 1/2 dozen for sampling night of swap 🙂
– On the night of swap: bring your treats wrapped with a copy of your recipe for each guest. You leave with a variety of new treats and recipes! I’ll be giving away prizes for group favorites!

So preheat your ovens and join me for a fun mid-week sugar break! I’ll be having holiday music, warm cocktail drinks and of course dessert! Holiday themed attire encouraged. Please RSVP by ______ so I can send out the final treat count. Thank you!”

 

PC: Heather Olson
PC: Heather Olson

 

Now, go get your ovens ready! Create some awesome invitations and start a new holiday tradition!

Happy Holidays!

 

 



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