I love the holidays, because there is a never-ending list of activities you can do to celebrate. You can watch movies, decorate a tree, go caroling (tangent question: does anyone actually carol anymore?), wrap gifts, and bake cookies. Most holiday activities are done in groups, too, so they always have the potential to turn into sweet memories with the people you care about. If you're planning on having a holiday party, why not make it a cookie decorating party? Here are some tips to help you create a holly, jolly, fun time for all.
1. Prep doughs ahead of time
There's no reason not to prepare a few cookie doughs a day or two before. Refrigerated dough is going to be easier to work with, anyway! Make a few good-to-decorate doughs, wrap up tightly, and keep them chilled until the day of your party. If you're looking for recipes, here are some of my favorites:
- Martha Stewart's Cinnamon Sugar Cookie
- The Food Network's Gingerbread Cookie
- Epicurious' Chocolate Roll-Out Cookie
- The Pioneer Woman's Snickerdoodle Cookie
- The Faux Martha's Vanilla Almond Sugar Cookie
- Pinch of Yum's Chocolate Thumbprint Cookie
- Wilela's Sugar Cookie
2. Let guests know the party is B.Y.O.C.S. (Bring-Your-Own-Cookie-Sheet)
Unless you're a professional baker or Martha Stewart, you probably won't have enough tools to go around. Make sure your guests know to bring their own. If you're really close with your party-goers, you could give each one a shopping list, too. Have folks bring sprinkles, extra cookie cutters, icing bags, etc.
3. Prep snacks (other than cookies) to eat
Bottom line: Everyone wants to eat the cookie dough, but no one should eat the cookie dough. Balance the overabundance of saccharin with some savory treats. Here are some not-so-sweet treats to try:
- Rosemary-Parmesan Popcorn
- Caprese Salad Skewers
- Guacamole Bruschetta
- Mini Quiches
- Savory Monkey Bread
You're going to need some beverages, too! Keep a pot of cider simmering on the stove, heat up some hot cocoa, or try something a little stronger. Most importantly, don't forget to stock the fridge with milk!
4. Have a stockpile of holiday playlists and Christmas movies
Nothing sets the holiday mood quite like the tender croonings of Bing Crosby's White Christmas. Or maybe it's the original How the Grinch Stole Christmas that gets you feeling holly and jolly. Either way, set the tone of your holiday party with festive background noise.
5. Make and tint icings ahead of time (or go store-bought)
This is just another way to save time. Basically - aside from actually decorating the actual cookies themselves - do what you can ahead of time! Additionally, don't forget to stock up on icing bags and toothpicks. You can also purchase pre-made cookie icing, which comes in an easy-to-dispense bottle.
6. Be prepared with to-go containers
All those cookies have to go somewhere at the end of the night (other than your bellies). Buy a pack of boxes, or a box of bags, or remind guests to come prepared with their own Tupperware containers.
7. Have fun!
Since you'll be hosting the party, balance running the operation with relaxing with guests. Sit down to decorate a few cookies, let messy spills lie for a while, and sip on some eggnog. Happy holidays!
Looking for more insight on how to host the perfect holiday party? Look no further - we have 7 extra tips for you right here!