There are Christmas Tea parties, and then there is the Christmas Cookie Exchange Tea, a new tradition in our family. This is a wonderful occasion for the ladies of the family to get together (although you don’t have to ban the gentlemen if you don’t wish to do so) without the pressure of gift giving.

The idea of the Christmas Cookie Exchange Tea is to exchange cookies and recipes. Each guest bakes cookies to exchange at the party, as well as to share at the party. If the party is smaller than eight people, guests can bring a dozen cookies for each guest, as well as a dozen for the party table. If the party is larger, then a half dozen cookies per guest makes things rather more manageable. The cookies for exchange are packaged along with a recipe. Last year, we had more than eight guests, but we counted the exchange by family or household, which worked out quite nicely.

In addition to cookies, I prepared several savory snacks, and Costco prepared some mini quiches. As much as I love to cook, Costco can be invaluable during the hectic holiday season. From my own kitchen came the classic cucumber sandwich and chicken salad sandwiches. This year, I plan to add scones and a cheese plate to the menu.

For teas, I served peppermint for the caffeine-free crowd, Darjeeling because it shows up at all my parties, and a holiday blend of orange and spice for something festive.

I had the tree decorated already, but tree decorating would make a nice activity for this type of party. Of course we played Christmas music in the background. Lala.com has streaming music from many albums and allows you to create playlists, if you don’t have a large collection of holiday music.

Remember, during this hectic holiday season and party planning, to sit back and enjoy your cuppa, don’t just gulp it.

by Stephanie Hanson

Don’t forget to check out Stephanie’s blog, The Tea Scoop!

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