One of the best things about the Christmas season is all of the Christmas cookies. Every year it is great to have an assortment of special cookies around.

It’s hard, however, (if you’re not Martha Stewart) to make dozens of different kinds of cookies. So many different recipes, ingredients, cooking techniques, and oven temperatures, makes producing an assortment so impractical.

Enter the Cookie Exchange. Collect a group of friends, and share the load. With the cookie exchange, everybody picks one recipe and just makes enough cookies for everybody.

Then you share the wealth and voila! Variety.

Start with your friends. Make a list of everyone who will make Christmas cookies, and set a date for the exchange. Make sure everyone will be available on exchange day.

Have each of the participants choose a recipe. They will now simply have to purchase ingredients and bake the one cookie recipe.

Six for one, a dozen for the other

If you have less than eight participants then everyone makes one dozen cookies per participant, and an additional dozen to nibble on during the exchange. For bigger groups, you might want to make only a half dozen per person.

Encourage the participants to choose a recipe they are familiar with already, and preferably one that freezes well. It’s handy to be able to make the cookies ahead and then freeze them for the Cookie Exchange, just in case you don’t have time at the last minute to make them fresh.

Make sure everyone provides the recipe for the cookie they are bringing, in advance of exchange day, so a booklet can be created.

A print version of the booklet, a PDF file, eBook, or simply a list of all the recipes in an email would all be acceptable, depending on how much time and energy you have.

On the day of the exchange itself, the participants should bring their cookies on decorative plates or in boxes. Dollar store paper Christmas plates and boxes work best so you won’t need to ask for them back.

The cookies should be packaged by the dozen for easy distribution.

Have lots of coffee, tea, or other appropriate beverages available to accompany the cookie testing. Don’t forget to have a few platters available to display the Christmas bounty.

Depending on how complicated you want to get your cookie recipes, you can whip up a Cookie Exchange in as little as a couple of days. A week (or two) of notice, however, is preferable for those who have busier schedules.

Whatever way you decide to create your Christmas Cookie Exchange, make sure that all of the participants are clear on their plan of action. And don’t forget to have fun!