Think cookie exchanges are just for adults? Think again. We had a kid-friendly bash that included cookie decorating, milk with fun straws and a hot chocolate bar. Frosting chaos? Yes. But it was super fun candy-coated controlled chaos. Pretty darn delicious, too.

{OK. We may have had wine for the adults.}

It doesn’t take much to throw a fam-friendly cookie exchange. Required ingredients: a few friends, cookies, frosting, candy and a wee bit of patience.

The party design? Think reinvented retro with ease.

We held our exchange on a Sunday afternoon and created two separate spaces: 1) kid-friendly cookie decorating table, and 2) adult-friendly cookie display table with hot chocolate bar. The cookie decorating table was simple: scrapbook paper “placemats” topped with white plates, plus all the candy fixings for decorating. The adult table? Effortless really. A mix-n-match of white and clear glass platters filled with cookies everyone brought.

Kid Friendly Cookie Exchange

After the requisite beginning-of-social-event mingling, the kids got right to work on the decorating. Dyed vanilla frosting in squeeze bottles made it easy for them to frost their own cookies. Then we let them have a free-for-all with the candy. Yeah, a fair share made it into little mouths rather than on to the cookies! And some kiddos just munched on the sugar cookies sans decoration.

Truthfully, the decorating took about 20 minutes. Followed it up with a mini milk or hot chocolate refreshment — then let the pint sizers play while the adults catch up on conversation. That’s when we broke out the wine.

Each kid was provided with a take-home box they could fill with cookies from the cookie display table right before the left. An easy-peasy afternoon that’s low stress.

Perfect holiday get-together in our opinion!

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FOR MORE TIPS AND PHOTOS: check out the article and hostess checklist in our 2012 Holiday Guide!

WANT THE RECIPES? We’ll be posting one cookie recipe every Friday in December! Keep checking back!

Styling by Laura Beynon, Cupcakes and Lemonade. Photography by Cara Walen, Cara Walen Photography.