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BEST Cookies for Christmas Cookie Exchange – and other events too!

Cookie exchanges can be so much fun when you have a plan of what to bake going into it! This post will provide you with a TON of new cookie recipe ideas to share this year.

Variety of Christmas cookies on countertop.

If you have been following me for awhile then you will know about my annual Christmas Cookie Frenzy, where I share new cookies with you yearly in a fun and interactive way, encouraging you to bake all season long.

I have been doing a joint baking party with my family for over 20 years, so I feel qualified to tell you what cookies are most successful, the ones we bake every year, and add some of my tips and tricks to make sure your cookie exchange is successful (even if it’s your first time!).

So come along friends, to my virtual Holiday Cookie Swap and let me know what other cookies you would add to my list.

Here is an actual photo of our cookie table when we were done the other year! (Excuse the quality of the photo, we had been baking for over 10 hours!).

Table filled with tins of cookies.

Cookie Exchange Rules and Tips

It is always helpful to have a few “rules” laid out ahead of time, to make the cookie swap as successful as possible.

A few rules we like to follow;

  • Set a limit for the number of cookie varieties each person will make. We normally limit it to 2 or 3 cookies (there is on average about 6 of us participating)
  • Make sure each person is committed to making a minimum – if you have 6 people participating you will want 1 dozen of each cookie type per person. This means looking for recipes that you can double or triple so you can get the 6 dozen (or more) cookies you need.
  • Set a date for everyone to have their cookie recipes picked by (I suggest mid-October for a November baking party) and have one person delegated to keep track of the recipes. This will help to determine who will need the stovetop, oven, mixers etc.
  • Pick recipes that have cookies/treats that can be easily frozen to keep fresh for all your cookie trays. (This means no recipes with fresh cream on the tops – while they look pretty when they are fresh, the DO NOT freeze well).
  • Speaking of your mixers, and all other baking equipment, if you are doing your baking together for the cookie swap be sure everyone brings extra measuring spoons, measuring cups, hand mixers, baking trays, spoons, spatulas ETC so you don’t have to constantly be doing dishes in order to bake.
  • If you are baking together another tip I love is to prepare the cookies and bars that take longer to set right at the beginning (if it requires freezing in between layers, or multiple flips in the oven, get those out of the way first).

Favorite Cookies for a Cookie Exchange

BEST Cookies for Christmas Cookie Exchange - and other events too!

Look no further than this list of the BEST cookies for you to bake for your Christmas Cookie Exchange this year. Everything from classic biscotti cookies, magic bars, a twist on the classic sugar cookie and so much more.

Things you may need

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To be successful with your Cookie Exchange you will need a few things!

  • Containers – you want them to be freezer safe so your treats don’t lose their flavor
  • Cookie Sheets – I love a good, thick cookie sheet for baking. They will give you evenly cooked goodies every time.
  • Bulk size Chocolate Chips – I always have these on hand for my Christmas baking!
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Fun and festive apron


Friday 24th of November 2023

Hello The white chocolate cranberry shortbread cookies can you use icing sugar instead of white and or brown sugar? If so what would the measurements be? Would love to makeā€¦

Oliv Blogger

Sunday 26th of November 2023

Hi Michelle!

I have not attempted it with icing sugar - it is so much finer than regular sugar so I don't know how it would hold up in the recipe.