It’s December and the holiday season is in full swing. All the activities that fill up our calendars can add joy or sometimes stress.
I’ve found it so important to choose to participate in the things that have meaning, or build relationships.
For me that has become our Christmas Cookie Exchange. This is a fun way to enjoy sampling all the Christmas cookies without doing all the baking, while also building connection with others.
I began our family tradition of a Christmas Cookie exchange 6 years ago and it has become a meaningful way to connect with my daughters and friends.
One of my favorite memories was my great grandmother preparing each of her grandchildren their own special bags of cookies at Christmas time. My cousins and I looked forward to this special treat every Christmas.
I was introduced to the Christmas Cookie Exchange by a German, friend and was inspired to bring this tradition into my own life.
It soon became one of the most celebrated times for women in our local area. This also gave me an opportunity to bring a group of women together for food, fellowship and celebrating the birth of Christ ~ a JOYFUL JOURNEY occasion.
If you have never experienced one of these let me share why I think it’s worth adding to your holiday traditions.
First and Foremost: Fellowship & Meeting New People- There is no better reason to gather. Share a Delicious Meal- Something happens when we meet each other over food. The connection goes much deeper than food.
Next: Enjoy a Variety of cookies- Many hands make light work. There is no reason to wear yourself out cooking just to have a variety of treats.
Finally: Reflect over the past year and share goals for the New Year. – Reflection invites thanksgiving over the good God has already done in our lives and sharing goals invites us to come alongside one another to see these come to pass.
Laughter- It fills you up with the JOY of the season.
Celebrate the birth of Jesus- This can become a time for your heart to refocus on what this season means both personally and for all of mankind.
I love lists! Don’t you?
So, I wanted to include practical instructions of what this exchange looks like. I’d love to hear back from any of you who try it.
*If it feels too late to try it this Christmas and you don’t want to wait a whole year, consider a Valentine’s Day Cookie Exchange.
I can’t imagine a more perfect time to share the love of Christ with your neighbor. It’s a great time to remind one another that we love because he first loved us.
HOW TO HOST A COOKIE EXCHANGE:
- Make your guest list. 6 to 12 guests are a good number. That gives each guest at least six different kinds of cookies to take home.
- Give your guests written invitations for the cookie exchange you may want to follow up with the instructions and rules.
- Determine whether you want the cookies for your cookie exchange to be handmade or store-bought (I personally require only BAKED cookies)
- You can have them share with you in advance the type cookie in or leave it to chance.
- Do the math and let each guest know approximately how many cookies to bring on the invitation.
- Every guest needs to arrive with enough cookies so that each guest can leave with 6 to 12 cookies of each kind. So, if you’re having 10 guests, you’ll ask each guest to bake 66 to 132 cookies each. If you plan to let guest eat cookies at the party, then ask them to bring an extra 6 to 12 cookies.
- Think of packaging. One option is to have each guest bring a container holding all her cookies, plus an empty container to fill with everybody else’s cookies. This way you set up big containers of cookies and everyone fills her empty tin. Or you may ask them to bring them in individually packaged plastic bags.
- Everyone will want everyone else’s recipes. One way to share the recipes is to have each guest print out copies of their own and bring with them. Another way is to have each guest attach recipes to their package of cookies. You can also have them email you the recipes in advance and make up a quick cookie recipe booklet.
- Set up the special table to display everyone’s cookies along with their recipes.
In addition to the Christmas Cookie Exchange; we enjoy a nice dinner together followed by Christmas games such as Charades and Left Right Game. Laughter is good medicine. (Proverbs 17:22).
I read several passages of Scripture from Advent Readings and allow each person to share what the Lord has placed on their hearts during this time of preparation of Christ’s birth.
We end the evening reflecting on who Jesus is and remember that He is the reason of Joy for this season.
Whatever your family traditions are for this season, my prayer is that God will use them to deepen your connection to the people in your family and those he has placed in front of you. Ask Him to give you eyes to see the ones that feel forgotten and reach out to include them.
But most of all, I pray that you see with fresh eyes the love He has for you and that love prompted Him to action. He put on flesh and came down… to save us.
What is love prompting you to do this season? I would love for you to share in the comments.