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How to host an easy, fun, and delicious Christmas Bake Exchange
Who doesn’t like a Christmas tradition that gives you dozens of different and delicious treats for you to serve your family and guests during the holidays, and you only have to bake once and one type of treat? That’s a Christmas bake exchange!
I love Christmas, it’s my favorite time of year. I am one of those people who just might have Jingle Bells as my ring tone all year long. One of my favourite traditions is my annual Christmas Bake Exchange! I love everything about it. I love the creative packaging the ladies come up with, making each delicious dozen you receive even more special!
I am often asked about my annual Christmas Bake Exchange that I have been organizing and hosting for 13 years now. And I LOVE it! All the ladies do! Some of these ladies have been doing this with me now for all 13 years. Sometimes the ladies change but the rules and format remain the same.
Follow my simple system below and you can start your own Christmas Bake Exchange Tradition this year! My friends are always so excited about getting the invitation email and even start asking about it in the summer months! We even have a waiting list each year, as we have to keep numbers to 10-12 participants to make it fully successful.
Here are the easy steps to my Christmas Bake Exchange! It is simple system to a yummy and rewarding experience for all. I am so excited for you to do this! Please do share your photos with me here or on my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/easydaysies.
Elaine’s Simple 4-Step Christmas Bake Exchange System:
1. Pick a date for the main event.
Choose a date about 4-6 weeks away from when you are sending out the e-mail invitation. This will give the ladies time to find a perfect recipe to make (as they will need to make one dozen for each participant) and find the perfect creative packaging they will gift their baking in! Plus there will be lots of time to plan for baking. I often chose a Monday for the exchange so the ladies have the weekend before to prep and package their baking and freeze it for you.
2. Pick a time for the main event.
For the first eleven years, I planned it as a morning coffee and tea Christmas Bake Exchange on a Monday morning. Plan to meet at 9:30AM-11AM. This will allow for moms to drop children to school and head on over to your house right away. The one and a half hour window is to allow for ladies who are driving from a bit further to get to the exchange and still have time to have some coffee or tea and sample the goodies!
3. Create Your Invitation List.
Write down a list of 8-10 ladies you think would love to be a part of your bake exchange. You will not want to have more than 10 or 12 participating. Remember that you will be baking one dozen cookies or treats for each person participating. So, if 8 people are participating, including you, you are baking at least 9 dozen of the same cookie or treat. You are making one extra dozen for samples at the exchange.
Do you know some great bakers or aspiring bakers? You want to set high expectations for your bake exchange. This bake exchange has rules which include no store-bought baking, everything has to be home-made, and everything has to be special holiday specific baking. That means NO everyday baking like chocolate chip cookies or rice crispy squares. What you do want is gingerbread cookies, short bread, and peppermint bark. This will set you apart from other bake exchanges.
4. Send the E-mail Invitation.
Feel free to copy and paste my e-mail below and tweak it to be your own.
Here is my e-mail I send out:
Hello Ladies! Here is the invite for the 13th Annual (Comeau) Christmas Bake Exchange! Please let us know if you can participate right away or if you cannot as we have a waiting list but want to keep the numbers between 10-12 MAX. Here are the RULES again!
Some have asked if we can know the final numbers asap because they like to prep and pick up cute packaging. Remember the best way to freeze your baking is to freeze them as separate pieces on a tray and then bag them after otherwise they will freeze together in a big clump! So, we need everyone to confirm by November 10th. It looks like a big group this year! So very yummy and exciting!!
Please note that this exchange is by invite only as much as we LOVE large groups of people… it just helps to keep the baking under control. If you can’t this year! No problem! We will miss you and catch you next time! 🙂
So here’s a reminder of how it works:
1. YOU CHOSE ONE DELICIOUS CHRISTMAS RECIPE. You bake one dozen special tasty treats PER PERSON participating and bring them to the exchange. In return you will receive one dozen of everyone else’s baking. That is, if there is 8 people participating (including you) then you bake 9 dozen, if there are 10 participating including you, you bake 11dozen. If you’d like to sign up, please list what you plan to bake so we don’t end up with doubles. One extra dozen is for sampling. 🙂
2. Your baking should be home-made, not store bought, real CHRISTMAS baking (so, NOT “every day” baking like chocolate chip cookies, rice krispy squares, peanut butter cookies, etc. NOT ALLOWED)
3. We love the fancy packaging! Please package each set of baking so that every participant can leave with their package. Last year the group out did themselves and put their treats in fancy beautiful wrap too! It is up to you how you want to give your yummies away. Last year some wrapped them on plates with fancy ribbon, some were in beautiful Christmas boxes, tins, and some in nicely decorated paper bags.
You can do whatever you like as long as each person participating receives one dozen of your yummy treats! (below is a photo from last year’s exchange!)
4. Bring a sample plate to share too! Sampling is always the best part!
We’ll exchange our yummy treats on Monday, December 5th at the Comeau home in Coquitlam. I will have coffee and tea. Please do bring some extra baking for sampling!
Some are coming from afar… my house will be open for exchanging between 9:30-10:30AM.
Please reply ASAP if you are participating or not. HIT “REPLY ALL”. Please reply by Thursday, Nov. 10th!
Thanks! I will send out an e-mail shortly after that to let everyone know how many are participating so you know how many to bake for!
LIST OF BAKING:
1. Elaine – Christmas Raspberry Shortbread Sandwich Cookies
One More Tip!
Start buying Christmas-y containers and packaging as soon as you can. I recommend buying containers at end of the season sales and stash it away for the next year’s Christmas Bake Exchange!
And Another Great Tip!
Remind your guests to bring their goodies in a big laundry basket so that they they can use the basket to easily take home their new treats too!
Most of all have fun! Everyone will love it and it will soon be one of your new favourite Christmas traditions!
I wish you and your family a beautiful and blessed Christmas,