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How to Host a Simple Christmas Cookie Swap Party for Kids

Updated on December 9, 2015

Are you looking for a simple and fun Christmas party idea for children? This provides all the activities you can do to host an exciting and memorable Children's Cookie Swap party that is perfect for friends, Sunday School classes, homeschool co-op groups or classes, family gatherings, and more! Read a Christmas story book, create a Christmas Mouse craft, play the Hershey's Kiss game, decorate cookies, snack on treats, swap cookies, and play!

What is your favorite type of cookie to bring to a cookie exchange?

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Oriental Trading Company Candy Cane Mice
Oriental Trading Company Candy Cane Mice

Mortimer's Christmas Manger

*Each family should bring 3 dozen cookies to swap!*

1. After everyone has arrived, read Mortimer's Christmas Manger by Karma Wilson.
YOU WILL NEED: Mortimer's Christmas Manger by Karma Wilson

2. Make Mortimer Mouse Candy Cane Crafts. (Don't forget to write names on them before you begin!) This is a craft that all ages can do and can enjoy, from my young toddlers to my early teenage children. (Tip: You could prepare these pieces yourself, but I prefer to use the set from Oriental Trading Company. It comes with everything you need to make 24 crafts, including the candy canes! I usually order these during their Cyber Monday deal immediately following Thanksgiving.)
YOU WILL NEED: Candy Cane Mouse Crafts from Oriential Trading Company (or make your own sets) and elmer's glue

Mortimer's Christmas Manger
Mortimer's Christmas Manger

I love this book that is by the same author who wrote "The Bear Snores On" series. It has gorgeous illustrations and the perfect amount of text for all ages of children. It includes the lights and decorations of Christmas along with the true reason (Jesus). This is a cute book about a mouse who discovers a little house just for himself (a manger scene). Each day he removes the figures, but they keep reappearing. One evening he hears the family talking about the true story of Christmas. He realizes the baby in the story is the baby in the manger scene. He prays to Jesus for a new home, and he might get one at the end of the story. You will have to read it to find out.


Decorate Cookies

3. Decorate Cookies:
-(This step can be done before the party.) Ahead of time: Pour cookie/cake sprinkles into miniature muffin liners so that each child can have one.
-While parents are assisting children in making the mouse candy cane crafts, make sugar cookie icing. In a large bowl combine a 2 pound bag of confectioner's sugar, 1 tsp. of vanilla and/or almond extract, and enough water to give it an icing-like consistency (about 3/4 cup of water). If it is too stiff, add more water. If it is too runny, add more confectioner's sugar.
-As children finish up their mouse crafts, have them wash their hands (or you can use hand sanitizer).
-Lay out a disposable plate for each child. (The plate should have a rim to collect sprinkles and runny icing!) Have one parent place a muffin liner of sprinkles on each plate. Another parent can lay 3-6 cookies on each plate. A third parent can drizzle the icing over the cookies.
-Allow children to decorate cookies.
-While they are decorating, have a parent walk around and write children's names on their plates.
YOU WILL NEED: 3-6 cookies per child (I use the inexpensive oatmeal ones from Walmart that are about $1 per pack), miniature muffin liners (1 per child), 1 plate per child, cookie/cake sprinkles, 2 pound bag of confectioner's sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla extract and/or almond extract, large mixing bowl, mixing spoon, and a sharpie marker

Finding candy canes
Finding candy canes

Candy Cane Collecting Game

4. (Optional) If you have children who enjoy listening to books, read "The Legend of the Candy Cane" by Lori Walburg.

5. (Ahead of time hang candy cane ornaments [or any other type of ornament] on bushes outside. If it is too cold outside, you could hide them around a room. Hide one per child. Hide two that are different from the others.) Have children each find one. The children who find the different ones each get a special treat.
YOU WILL NEED: 1 candy cane ornament per child (I bought packs of 6 from the Dollar Tree) including 2 that are different and a special treat (I gave out Bethlehem star pencils from Oriental Trading Company)

The Legend of the Candy Cane, Newly Illustrated Edition: The Inspirational Story of Our Favorite Christmas Candy
The Legend of the Candy Cane, Newly Illustrated Edition: The Inspirational Story of Our Favorite Christmas Candy

This is a sweet legend about how the candy cane was created in order to tell the story of who Christ is and what He did. If you want a really short story for preschoolers that features candy canes and Christ, use "J Is for Jesus: The Sweetest Story Ever Told" by Crystal Bowman.

Hershey's Kiss Relay Race
Hershey's Kiss Relay Race
Treat bags
Treat bags

Hershey Kiss Relay Race & Singing

6. (Ahead of time divide up Hershey's kisses into 2 containers. Lay an assortment of gloves and mittens next to each container.) Divide children into 2 teams. Have a child from each team race across the room to the Hershey's Kiss baskets. They must put on the gloves, unwrap a Hershey's Kiss, pop it in their mouth, take off the gloves, walk back, and slap the hand of the next child in line. The first team to eat all of their Hershey's Kisses wins! *Children ages 4 and under do not have to put on the gloves! *Tip: Have a parent next to each basket to remind the children of each step.
YOU WILL NEED: 1-2 Hershey's Kisses per child, at least 2 pairs of children's gloves, 2 containers (such as baskets), and prizes for all of the children (I gave out treat bags with a packet of hot chocolate, a Hershey's Kiss, a candy cane, a Christmas bracelet, and a Nativity sticker set that I got from Oriental Trading Company)

7. The winning team gets to select a Christmas carol for the other team to sing in order for them to get their treat bags. A parent can lead everyone in singing it joyfully! Then pass out the treat bags to the rest of the children. Have everyone put their treat bags next to their cookies and candy cane mouse ornaments.

For cute, easy non-sweet appetizer ideas like these, go to
For cute, easy non-sweet appetizer ideas like these, go to
We made melted snowmen cookies for the cookie swap.
We made melted snowmen cookies for the cookie swap.

Snack Time & Cookie Swap

8. Let everyone get snacks. We tried to have non-sweet items because of all the treats. We served a cheese and cracker tray, guacamole with tortilla chips, a vegetable tray, goldfish crackers, and pretzels.
YOU WILL NEED: snacks (possibly brought by the families), cups, plates, napkins, and drinks

9. While children are eating, moms can divide up the cookies brought for the cookie exchange.
YOU WILL NEED: disposable plates and plastic wrap

10. Now for the favorite part of the party...Allow the children to play while the moms can chat.

Looking for my other Christmas ideas and/or all of my webpages?

Top Five Christmas Traditions for Kids
Top Five Christmas Traditions for Kids

Christmas Ideas:

  • Top Five Christmas Traditions for Kids - From baking, to advent wreaths, to homemade ornaments, to special children's books, and more, here are our top 5 traditions that have made it into our permanent rotation, and we plane to continue doing year after year -- at least while we have a little one in the house.
  • Christmas Symbols Lesson - This is a hands-on Christmas lesson perfect for a class, family, or homeschool group. Act out a nativity play, make edible Christmas trees for family members, sing a Christmas carol, and more!
  • A Jesse Tree for Christmas - This is a hands-on Christmas lesson I created for a two week unit on Christmas. In this lesson the children will make salt dough Jess Tree ornaments as they listen to the significance of each one.
  • Gingerbread Man Lesson for Kindergarten - Ready for a fun kindergarten literature lesson on The Gingerbread Man? Compare and contrast two versions of the story, decorate gingerbread cookies, create character finger puppets to re-tell the story, and more in this fun literature lesson on the Gingerbread Man!

All of my lessons and unit studies:

  • Fun, FREE Hands-on Unit Studies - Looking for all of my lessons and unit studies? Over the years I have posted over 35 science and social-studies based unit studies, compromised of more than 170 lessons. The unit studies include the Human Body, Simple Machines, Earth Science, Medieval Period, American Revolution, Pioneer Life, Countries of the World, and many more! For each lesson I have included activities (with photos), our favorite books and YouTube video clips, lapbook links, and other resources. I posted links to all of my unit studies and lessons at the above link.

Tips on Hosting a Cookie Swap

Merry Christmas!

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Image Credit:

I'd love to hear from you! What activities do you like to do for children's Christmas parties?

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