It's cookie exchange time
Dec. 15, 2014
by Jenni Sebora

It’s cookie exchange time once again.

My middle daughter has hosted a cookie exchange with friends – boys and girls – for the last few years, and this year was no exception.

However, my daughter and her friends are now freshmen – high schoolers – where has time gone? We started doing this when they were all in elementary school.

It really is about friendship, fun, camaraderie, and, well, cookies.

The infamous peanut butter blossoms, frosted sugar cookies (lots of frosting), never-can-go-wrong chocolate chip cookies, the best-ever molasses cookies (I really do mean the best ever), surprise cookies (Rolo in the middle), candy cane almond bark candy (yum), Oreo balls, Melting Moments (otherwise known as cornstarch cookies – my favorite) are all among the cookies that filled my kitchen counter and table. What more can you ask for?

The hot cocoa bar is always a hit for all ages – homemade cocoa, peppermint and vanilla marshmallows, caramel sauce, crushed candy canes, chocolate chips, caramel sauce, chocolate sauce, cinnamon, and whipped topping (they go through two cans).

Hot cocoa simmering in Christmas mugs, stir with a candy cane – wow, yep, it is Christmas.

We ask each participant to bring two dozen cookies, and if they forget the cookies, or they get burned or ruined, we don’t care – come anyway. (It really is not about the cookies – they are just a plus).

This year, my daughter explained the rules: grab your empty container, and if you don’t have one, we have one for you (a paper plate or two and some plastic wrap work fine, too), and just take one or two cookies from each container to start with. Then, just take what you want after that. There are about 20 exchangers, so even taking two gets you a lot.

Their containers are full, and their stomachs are starting to be, as well. They always eat their favorites right off the bat. (The Oreo balls are always gone. I never get one. Next year, I will).

Afterwards, they all head to the basement, which has now transformed from a mini kitchen and play house to a tween/teen world, with a couch, television, lots of space, and a table for games and activities. (This was hard for me – no more baby dolls and dressup).

Charades was a hit. I, of course, left them to their fun and folly, but I could hear them laughing and shouting guesses.

Yes, it was a fun evening once again, with festivities ending around 11 in the evening. A couple of stragglers planned ahead to stay the night.

We enjoyed Christmas movies. This year, “Ice Princess” was the hit. The girls always like to pull out an older movie that they have enjoyed in the past, which becomes a favorite again.

These activities are really my favorites during the holidays. I love having a house full of people, kids, and laughter and talking. Just being surrounded by it is medicine for the soul.

Now, it is my youngest daughter’s turn. Friends, games, Christmas movies, and a slumber party. I will get on that, and I love it all.

Happy holidays to you all. Enjoy the friendship and laughter, and all of those special moments!

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