The holiday season can be extremely hectic and when you have to contend with a chronic illness, it can be doubly overwhelming and exhausting. Our family and friends, who can handle the aftermath of a holiday gathering like a champ, don’t realize that these same holiday gatherings that are scheduled back to back to back can trigger a debilitating flare-up of our chronic illness. We want to take part in all that we can but we also don’t want to be miserable. So sometimes we need to bow out of events and well, that sucks because the holidays are a time to celebrate and to be with the ones we love.
So why not bring the party to you?
Do we sound like we are off our rockers?
Hear us out —
Yes, it may seem daunting, to host a party over the holidays but have you heard of a cookie swap? It’s a party when each guest brings a different type of homemade cookie to swap with each other. Think about it. The guests bring the treats; all you have to do is put on a pot of coffee or tea and open your home! Sounds pretty simple?
The added bonus of a cookie swap is that it actually saves you lots of time in the kitchen too. You’ll be left with an assortment of homemade cookies for the rest of holiday season and you didn’t even have to bake them.
And with this simplified cookie swap, everyone pitches in so that the event is relaxed enough so that more time is spent together visiting instead of busying all around the house — just the way a holiday gathering should be.
Here is step-by-step guide to planning your event.
- Set the guest list.
Pick a few of your closest friends to attend. The number is up to you but we recommend keeping the number small (4 – 6 max).
2. Set the date and time.
Cookie swaps can be held at any time during the day. Perhaps your pain is worse in the morning but you feel your absolute best in the early afternoon. Why not plan your party in the afternoon?! Choose a time that you feel your best.
There is absolutely no pressure to have the cookie swap super close to the holidays. Do what works best for your busy schedule! Just make sure that when you choose the date to notify your guests at least a few weeks in advance to allow them to plan, buy ingredients and bake.
3. Set the rules.
- Each guest brings one dozen homemade cookies to share and sample at the party. Now typically the cookie swap calls for guests to make another dozen for EACH guest in attendance to take home, but in this simplified version we only ask that guests make another one dozen cookies. This way everyone can pick a few cookies from each guest to take home. Less baking means less stress and less pain! We want everyone to be able to enjoy this time spent together and not to be frazzled over baking a bunch of cookies! (*ALLERGY ALERT* make sure you ask guests if they have any food allergies)
- Now life does happen. People do get sick. Schedules get busy around the holidays. Cookies do get burnt. If you cannot make cookies for the party it is perfectly ok to bring store bought cookies BUT you must bring copies of the cookie recipe you were going to make so that if the guests are interested in trying them, they can make their own. We do suggest though that each guest bring copies of their cookie recipe to pass around (if they’re willing to part with the recipe!).
- Ask guests to bring containers with them to party so that they can take the cookies that they’ve chosen home.
- Dress comfortably! No need to get dressed up for this relaxed party. Kick back in a pair of yoga pants if you want! Or you can even make it a fun Holiday PJ themed party!
4. Get Ready
- Go disposable. You don’t have to get super fancy with the china. Disposable plates and silverware means less cleanup at the end of the day.
- Set up a table where guests can put their cookies
- Set up a table where guests can swap their cookies and package them
- You’re going to want to provide beverages for your guests especially hot beverages like tea, coffee, and hot chocolate because they pair really well with cookies! So start the tea kettle a few minutes before guests arrive.
Ask for help / Enjoy the company
Don’t be afraid to delegate someone to pour the tea or pass the napkins or to simply announce that you’re feeling tired and need to sit.
Our friends may not understand the difficulties that we face each day but they do genuinely care about our well being and they want us to be able to enjoy the holidays as much as they do. If that means picking up a broom so that you can rest and smile and laugh as painlessly as possible with the entire gang, so be it.
And trust us, your friends will be more than willing to help out especially when there are delicious cookies involved.
If you host a cookie swap this season, let us know.
We’d love to hear about it!