I have a love for the holidays, a sickening love. I am a mom. I want to honor my girls friendships and give her experiences and memories that will last a lifetime.
This past weekend I helped Doodle host her first annual holiday cookie baking / decorating party. I went all Elf on the situation and I think it was a good thing. The girls clearly had a fabulous time and I loved hosting as a parent. It may have been just as much for me as it was for her.
This party started as a passing comment after school to one of Doodle’s friends. I suggested a future playdate and offered it up as a cookie baking / decorating party. Her friend was overjoyed at the idea. Seeing the girls joy sparked a more robust idea in me. I suggested we throw a party for decorating cookies and asked Doodle who she would invite. One thing led to the next; there were invites printed on holiday paper and stuffed into holiday envelopes. Ten friends in all were invited. Containers were purchased in anticipation of the event. And Pinterest hunting and pinning began to find the perfect cookie recipes.
All-in-all 5 friends RSVP’d to the party. And what a party it was.
Today I am sharing details of “how to” and recipes from some incredible bakers to inspire your own holiday cookie baking / decorating party. Yes, as a mom and as the host a lot of work went into preparation but, it was well worth it in the end. I will also share a couple tips to improve on Doodle’s first annual baking party so that yours can be even more incredible on the first go round.
Along with tips and tricks, at the end of this post there is a free download that includes all of the recipes we used for the party. Jump there now, if that’s what you’re here for.
TIPS & TRICKS TO CONDUCT THE PERFECT HOLIDAY COOKIE BAKING / DECORATING PARTY:
Jump in with both feet.
Once the suggestion was made, I knew we had to act fast as the holidays get busy and schedules fill up. I looked at our calendar and wanted to launch the holidays right with the Doodle and her friends. With school and schedules, I selected the first Saturday in December. I sent the invites to school with Doodle Thanksgiving week in hopes to ensure families had just over a week to plan, but not so much time it got lost in the shuffle.
We printed the invitations on holiday themed paper and stuffed them into holiday themed envelopes. It made the party more real for the Doodle and there was a tangible invite for her friends to share with their parents. Ho, Ho, Ho – Let’s Roll Some Dough!
Feed into inspiration.
As we were shopping for Thanksgiving weekend, we saw beautiful holiday buckets and collected 6 (surprisingly the perfect number for our party with 5 RSVP’s and the Doodle). Every time we saw something we thought could make the party awesome; we purchased, collected and brought home the item and added it to our little stash.
Create a cookie menu.
I wanted to ensure the girls were focused on decorating sugar cookies most. But, I also wanted to ensure that the buckets they took home to their families were filled with other goodies as well. Variety is the spice of life. As a result I planned a cookie menu that included a few other recipes to make ahead and during the party that would go home with the ladies.
Preparation is key.
I bought all ingredients on Wednesday in order to ensure pre-baking took place on Friday and all was set-up in advance for Saturday’s fun. We have more than enough to make another round of almost all cookies. That’s the art of buying ingredients; one needs a teaspoon and has to buy an entire jug.
With six girls running through our house, anything they touch for this party should be disposable. We brought in our large folding table, folding chairs, bought a large disposable table cloth, bought paper plates and bowls for decorating and let the ladies have at it. After all the baking, it sure made decorating and clean up much easier.
Chick-fil-A for the lunch time win.
We knew we would be feeding these little ladies lunch and so we agreed a catering sized batch of chicken nuggets and a small fry for each kid would be perfect. As parents dropped their babes off, I confirmed Chick-fil-A was ok and the plan was set. Easy lunch for little ladies. J ran out as decorating seemed to come to an end to grab lunch.
A few added tips now that we’ve done this once (we’re experts I tell ya)!
We baked the sugar cookies on Friday night and prepared the chocolate covered pretzels. When we do this again, I would bake more / all of the cookies in advance. Prep all the added cookies or treats and ensure there are dozens of sugar cookies for each kid to decorate.
Prepare the icing the morning of the event.
The icing was the part that gave me the most angst. We only prepared one batch, which ended the decorating early. And we used lunch baggies as piping bags (messy). In the future, I will prep the icing the morning of (as all the other cookies will have been baked) and I will use actual piping bags with tips. Icing is sticky and messy and anything to make it easier for the kids is key. Also, this prep will allow for more icing which leads to longer cookie decorating in general.
I failed miserably on this front. All memories are in the heart and mind at this point. I took one photo of the girls posing together, but failed to capture any of the actual fun during decorating. I am sad that we don’t have any pictures of the fun Doodle had with her friends. And I missed taking photos because I was still baking and cleaning and running around. A bit more prep and memories would have been captured.
Anything is better than nothing.
Don’t over think it. At the end of the day, any party is lovely. Anything that the kids experience (or adults) will be better together. Whether you make one cookie and enjoy time together laughing. Whether the kids play freeze tag outside or watch a holiday movie. The whole point is for friends and family to come together over the holiday to enjoy one another.
I love the little details that go into anything. They are the details that really leave their mark. For this party and for all future parties it was a clean house, with holiday music playing, a table set specifically for the kids with little gifts and Elf on the TV after the decorating was done.
Without further ado… Let’s get to the recipes. The cookies baked were – Cut Out Sugar Cookies, Chocolate Covered Pretzels, Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies & Mini Christmas Monster Cookies. The Cut Out Sugar Cookies were a recipe from my dear friend Kylee and they are the most, absolute most, incredible cookies I have tasted. Everything else was found on Pinterest and all are shared in the below downloadable guide.
I am already mentally planning our family cookie baking session. A few cookie change ups for holiday varieties sake, some sweet little details added and of course a warm house, with a lot of music playing and the heart of the holidays threaded through it.
Happy Holiday Friends!