Our annual Christmas cookie decorating party is one of my favorite parts of the holiday season. We’ve hosted this party for 10 years now (I think) and I will admit: it gets easier as the girls get older and can contribute more to the party prep! But, I’d encourage you to try a Christmas cookie decorating party even with little ones. I’ve got lots of ways to make it easy to prep for your party.
Get Ready for Your Christmas Cookie Decorating Party
I’ve got three great party prep resources for you:
- You’ll find lots of detailed — and free — advice in this post.
- For a non-Christmas take on a cookie decorating party, join the Party Plan Club. I’ve got a really cute pink-styled cookie decorating party for you there.
- If you want a guide by your side as you plan, pick up my Christmas Cookie Decorating Party Plan. At just $9.99, it’s got more detail, checklists, and day-by-day planning advice than I can squeeze into a blog post.
The short version is:
- Take inventory of supplies like piping bags, parchment paper, etc. — everything you’ll need for baking and decorating. Shop for what you need. (My party plan has complete lists.)
- Do your grocery shopping early or let a grocery delivery service handle that for you.
- Make your cookies and frosting in advance. We use this recipe for gingerbread and this recipe for sugar cookies and this recipe for chocolate cookies. For royal icing, I prefer using a recipe featuring meringue powder. Don’t try to do it all on the day of your party.
- Set your table with a tablecloth for protection, then add a Christmas wrapping paper runner. It makes for easy clean up!
- You’ll want plates for eating, decorating and resting piping bags. I like using a cloth napkin or hand towel instead of a paper napkin. This is a messy party!
- Add a centerpiece of flowers or a bowl of Christmas ornaments — or both!
We get a little better at this party every year. Here are this year’s improvements:
- We made icing in two consistencies: outlining (thicker) and flood (for filling in). So that we could tell the bags apart, we marked an “F” on each flood bag.
- Flood bags tend to be floppy, so we stored those upright in juice glasses, rather than on the plates shown above.
- We also had little cups with water on the table for changing out piping tips. Anytime we removed a piping tip, we popped it in the water to rinse off the old color of icing. That saved us from popping up and down to the kitchen throughout the party.
Any cookie that looked extra pretty was NOT made by me — ha!
What to serve at your Christmas Cookie Decorating Party
We always combine a light lunch plus dessert with our cookie decorating. We start the party at about 11:30, which gives us time to relax, chat and exchange Christmas gifts before we get down to decorating.
Our go-to lunch for this party is a hearty salad. This year, we tried this Kale Sweet Potato Salad from Natasha’s Kitchen. It was delicious. We did add chopped rotisserie chicken to make it more of a meal.
You probably have tons of Christmas sweets around, so serve what you have! We received a gift of Levain Bakery cookies, so I arranged those on a cake stand. It was more than enough dessert!
I made stovetop hot apple cider and CrockPot hot chocolate.
Hot Apple Cider
This recipe is from my mom’s friend Judy Lewin. We always made it in a percolator but mine finally went kaput, so now I make in a large pot on my stovetop.
- 2 quarts apple cider
- 1 quart cranberry juice
- 2-3 cinnamon sticks
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- 1 lemon, sliced
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar
Put the cloves in a tea infuser or ball. Mix other ingredients in your pot. Heat until warm.
CrockPot Hot Chocolate
I use a hot chocolate recipe from Wink Chick that apparently isn’t online anymore, so here’s all you do.
In your Crockpot, mix:
- 1/2 cup dry baking cocoa
- 12 oz can sweetened condensed milk
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- I’m 7-1/2 cups water
- 1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Heat on low for about 3 hours, mix again, then turn the Crockpot to warm.
Christmas Cookie Decorating Party Table settings
This year’s Christmas wrapping paper table runner featured red and green snowflakes, so I used red and white table settings. I just pulled red placemats and red and white plates and cloth napkins out of my party stash. The Santa goblets were for water.
I added a fork and spoon to a mini Christmas stocking on top of each dessert plate. You can find similar mini stockings at Dollar Tree.
I decant all my sprinkles into into mini mason jars. It’s just easier to store them if every container is the same shape and size. That also makes it easier to add sprinkles to each place setting and pass them around to share. Adding appetizer or demitasse spoons helps guests scoop out just the right amount of sprinkles.
I used white platters for the cookies. When you’re building your party serving pieces collection, white is a choice you can use for any party. (Want to know more about serving pieces? Take The Party Course; I’ve got a whole module all about what to buy as you build your collection.)
Christmas Cookie Decorating Sideboard
I like to leave lots of space on the dining table for this party because we’ve constantly setting aside decorated cookies. So on our sideboard, I had the salad, mugs for cider or hot chocolate, and cookies for dessert.
I also had an extra tray of chocolate cookies to decorate.
This is definitely a “use your Christmas decorations” party so I also had my MIL’s large Santa on the sideboard. Santa’s sack is secretly a vase, so I added the same white and red flowers from the centerpiece to Santa.
And that’s this year’s party! I hope it gives you some inspiration for your next Christmas cookie decorating party! If I can answer any questions, just let me know in the comments below.