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The holidays are a time to celebrate togetherness with family, friends, neighbors and the community. One of my favorite holiday traditions is our annual cookie exchange as it allows me time to spend with friends and neighbors over a good cup of coffee, with the added bonus of bringing home sweet treats to share with my family.
Follow our simple tips to throw a coffee and cookie exchange party to remember!
Choose a Party Theme
Whenever hosting a gathering, I recommend starting with a theme or concept. Inspiration can be found virtually anywhere; a favorite linen, trending fabrics or colors, a centerpiece concept or your current holiday decorations. This year, we were ‘mad about plaid’. So, we anchored our cookie exchange and coffee party decorations around traditional buffalo plaid accents.
Send out Invitations & Instructions
Now, it’s time to invite guests. Whether you choose to print and mail an invitation or to send via email or text, be sure to outline the basics for your event; date, time, location and instructions for the cookie exchange. We hosted our event mid-morning, to allow guests to drop off children at school, but still early enough in the day to enjoy a hot cup of coffee or two.
Invite guests to bring a favorite homemade cookie or bar to share with other guests, noting a quantity to bring so that everyone has the opportunity to bring a sample home. For example, if you expect 12 guests in attendance, each guest would bring a dozen homemade goodies to exchange.
Set up your Coffee Station
Offer guests several coffee choices to enjoy during your cookie exchange. We are a K-Cup® household and offered party guests 2 festive choices: the Starbucks® Holiday Blend K-Cup® Packs and the Starbucks® Peppermint Mocha Caffè Latte K-Cup® Packs. I would also recommend offering a decaffeinated coffee option to your station to accommodate all guests.
To accompany our coffee bar, we displayed peppermint drink stirrers, which are a great holiday treat, and standard cream and sugar. We found all of our coffee bar needs at the local Walmart.
Through the 26th of December, there is a great offer available: Purchase three (3) qualifying Starbucks® packaged coffee (10-20oz.), Starbucks® K-Cup® packs (9-32ct.), VIA® Instant (5-8ct.), Starbucks® Syrups (12.17oz.), or Starbucks® Cookie Straw packs (9.17oz.) products in a single transaction at Walmart stores from 11/1/17 through 12/26/17 and receive 75 bonus stars when you upload your receipt at Starbucks-stars.com.
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Choose or Create a Centerpiece
Centerpieces anchor a dessert table. We had an absolute blast creating our holiday, coffee inspired centerpiece. We filled a 36x4” distressed wooden box with 3 tall mini-Alpine trees, then filled 2 clear glass containers with red coffee beans. After spray painting the coffee beans red, they resembled the look of our buffalo plaid décor and we couldn’t have been more pleased. Plus, the coffee beans filled the room with that delicious aroma! And, who can resist the smell of coffee!?!
To replicate the look of our coffee bean centerpiece, simply purchase Starbucks® whole bean coffee, spread them out in a single layer on a board or newspaper, and spray paint with a bright holiday red color. Allow them to dry, then mix up the beans and repeat the steps. Once the beans have completely dried, transfer them into your clear container of choice.
Create a Cookie Display
For consistency on the dessert table, I like to choose coordinating platters for display at a cookie exchange party that guests can stack their treats onto upon arrival. For each cookie type, offer pre-printed labels and a pen to write the name and/or description of the cookie. Download your FREE white & black plaid food labels at the end of this post.
To make it easy to take home cookies, offer guests a to-go container with liners. We dressed up simple kraft paper gable boxes with “Happy Trails” labels and buffalo plaid ribbon for each guest. Food safe paper, such as parchment makes a great liner for food safe boxes, as well as layering for different cookie types.
Download your FREE “Happy Trails” labels to recreate your own gable boxes at the end of this post.
We can never resist the opportunity to send home party guests with a little treat. We displayed buffalo plaid coffee mugs on a farmhouse style platter, filled with Starbucks® Holiday Blend Ground Coffee, Starbucks® Peppermint Mocha Flavored Ground Coffee or Starbucks® Holiday Blend K-Cup® Packs that we picked up from the holiday coffee display at Walmart. We added a kitchy little signage in front of the favor display, reading “I am so plaid you came”, which is available for FREE download at the end of this post.
We hope our coffee & cookie exchange party ideas inspire you to gather friends, family and neighbors this year for a little sweetness over a hot cup of coffee.