If you’re anything like us, the annual cookie exchange party is an event you look forward to the entire year. It’s full of festive decor, yummy new treats, and of course, a classic holiday cocktail! Not to mention, it’s the official kick-off to the holiday season.
Cookie exchanges are all about cookies (duh!), but they’re also all about being together with your favorite people. It’s a special time to gather the holiday enthusiasts in your life together to celebrate the joy of the season and catch up on everything that happened in the past year. For most of us, that catch-up will go reeeeaaal quick in 2020!
In a world where our favorite holiday festivities are happening in virtual meeting rooms, how do we make the most of the sweetest holiday tradition? We’re feeling the heartache of missing out on that special swap with our mom’s, aunts, sisters, and besties, and we want to encourage you through the disappointment. Let’s put the “merry” back in holiday merriment!
To get you on-board, here are our favorite ways to have a virtual (but still amazing) cookie exchange party:
Send an Invitation
Whether it’s an evite from Paperless Post, a physical invitation in the mail, or a quick message to the group text, add a little excitement to your virtual cookie exchange with an invitation. Make it extra festive by incorporating some cute holiday clipart or a fun cookie pun. (Want some inspiration? Our website is FULL of amazingly sweet sayings).
If you’re going the snail mail route, it’s a good idea to also quick things off with a text or a Facebook message so your friends and family can start chatting about their excitement and can swap mailing addresses with the group.
Decide on a Swap System
Want to have every person send cookies to one other person (a la Secret Santa), or would you rather they send cookies to everyone else in the group? It’s totally up to you to decide, but having a game plan from the get-go will keep things confusion-free for everyone.
Our recommendation is to keep things simple and draw names so each person only has to mail one box of cookies. But if you all live in the same town, you could also drop cookies off at a central location on one day and have the host distribute the assortment to everyone later in the week. There’s really no wrong way to do this!:)
To keep things simple and avoid any spoilers, we recommend using a website like drawnames.com. Pro tip: since you’ll only be swapping cookies with one other person, you could make a few different kinds of cookies before sending them off. Part of the fun of the traditional cookie swap party is going home with loads of different types of goodies, decide as a group what you think is feasible this year!
If you do decide you want to send an assortment of different kinds of treats, check out the Hello, Cookie Dough cookbook for recipe inspiration. We also have a couple of dōlicious baking mixes and even ready to roll & cut-out cookie doughs if you’re looking for ways to make impressive cookies without being totally overwhelmed in the kitchen.
Set a Deadline
Make sure no one suffers a cookie-exchange-disappointment by getting clear on when the cookies should be shipped. Ideally, this should be a few days before you plan to “gather” for your virtual party. Remember that shipping times have been a little bit longer this year, so you’ll want to plan in some cushion in case there is a delay in transit. (It’s also a good idea to remind your friends and family to choose baked goods that can handle a few days of transit time without getting stale, soggy, or a little lackluster).
Check in with your group one or two days before the deadline to make sure everyone is still on track and ready to go. As the host, you’ll want to facilitate any questions about mailing addresses if you have participants who are having trouble connecting with each other (or if you’ve chosen to keep your swap recipients secret!). It may also fall to you to answer questions about food allergies or ingredient preferences.
Get Festive for the Virtual Party!
We’re all suffering from Zoom-fatigue at this point (and FaceTime fatigue, and House Party app fatigue, and Netflix Party fatigue…the list goes on!), so you may want to plan a few extra touches to make your cookie exchange a little more lively. Here are a few of our favorite ideas:
- Create a shared playlist of holiday music everyone can listen to the day-of the party
- Decorate your space for the occasion, or find some fun Zoom backgrounds to distribute to everyone who will be joining you
- Encourage your guests to wear their favorite holiday outfits! Bonus points if you turn this into a contest
- Share photos of your baked good masterpieces before the call and then vote on which one is “best in show” during the virtual party
- Designate your creative, witty friend to make a cookie-themed party game to play on the call
- Send a little gift in the mail for everyone to open to kick things off
- Create some icebreakers to ease the video-call-silence awkwardness
Do what you can to make it a little bit more special than every other socially distanced day.
If you’ve been staying home and keeping distanced this year, then doing just a few small things to break up the “keep watching” Netflix routine will go a long way! Do what makes sense for your crew and you’ll be sure to make memories they’ll be talking about for years to come.
During a girls’ weekend in Philadelphia, Kristen Tomlan’s group stopped by a cookie shop for a sweet-tooth fix, but her inner child craved the unbaked dough. They bought a tub of frozen cookie dough — intended for baking — and passed around the tub, loving every bite and laughing about the lack of cookie dough designed solely for eating in its pure form.
From there, DŌ was born. Kristen was in the early stages of developing DŌ when she learned she had a gluten intolerance. Her pizza-loving, breadbasket indulging and cookie devouring days were behind her — or so she thought. Rather than settling with the restricted gluten-free options in the market, she began an unwavering quest to find a way to eat my favorite gluten-full foods, in a new, gluten-free way. Cookies, and dough, were no exception.
This big city girl with Midwestern roots is on a mission to bring you the best cookie dough you’ve ever had. She has relentlessly researched, tested, and tried ingredients to perfect the recipes of my favorite cookie flavors. Kristen wants everyone — regardless of dietary restrictions — to enjoy delicious cookies and cookie dough, brought to you by DŌ.