Bust out of the boring, and get creative for your next Christmas cookie decorating party. With a little planning and some ingenious hacks, your party will be the highlight of the holiday season for you and your guests.
Inviting Your Guests With Style
The Christmas season is a busy time of year. Set the date of your party, make a guest list, and send out invitations that include details like where, when and what to bring. Invitations can be email, text or paper formats. These should capture the spirit of the season.
- Buy Christmas themed cookie cutters and attach a tag with your invitation details on them.
- Use die cuts to make gingerbread men. Decorate the front and put the details of the party on the back.
- If you are especially crafty, purchase large wooden spoons from the dollar store. Use a wood-burning kit to write the details of the party on the spoon.
Cookie Making Hacks
It goes without saying you'll want to have your cookies baked in advance. Sugar cookies and gingerbread cookies are ideal for cookie decorating parties. However, regardless of what recipe you use, keep these tricks in mind for flawless cookies every time:
- Bake the cookies well in advance, and plan to have all your baking and cooling done at least the day before the party.
- After you make the dough, chill it in small, gallon size bags. This way, you can pull out a small amount of dough at a time to work with it. (Dough gets sticky and difficult to work with as it gets warmer.
- If you're short on time - cut your refrigerating day in half by freezing the dough instead of refrigerating it.
- Just plan on one batch getting ruined and bake extras. This will save you a lot of stress later.
- Choose three to four cookie cutter designs to make it a little easier on you. However, don't feel like you have to stick to traditional themes. Christmas palm trees, Ninja-bread men, or even winter animals like penguins.
Note - if your party includes kids, make plain round cookies, or use a larger cookie cutter. They are easier to decorate and easier to work with for smaller hands.
Cookie Decorating Made Easy
Guests will typically decorate three to four cookies during a party. Set your guests up for success with these great tips:
- Provide each guest with a muffin tin that is filled with doodads like edible pearls, crushed candy canes, or edible glitter. The tins help keep everything organized.
- Royal icing makes the best frosting with which to decorate cookies. Provide multiple colors in both bowls (for spreading) and baggies (for piping).
- Have baggies and scissors handy for making new bags of icing to use. (Put icing in baggy and cut the tip off with scissors.
- Print design suggestions and directions on postcards and leave on the decorating table.
- Give each guest a tin baking sheet (available at the grocery store) to bring cookies home with. This way - there's no stacking cookies whose frosting hasn't quite dried yet.
- For kids, buy empty ketchup bottles (usually found at the dollar store) and fill them with icing.
Cookie decorators will need refueling, so provide them with something delicious and unexpected. Make sure to keep your eating area separate from your cookie decorating area.
- Go nostalgic with traditional dishes, such as figgy pudding and delicious spicy wassail served in cute Christmas mugs.
- Don't forget to set out a tray of traditional Italian Christmas cookies perfect for nibbling and arranged on a paper doily.
- Of course, a decorated yule log is just what the more serious dessert fans will appreciate.
- The kids will enjoy a cup of hot cocoa and a generous slice of candy cane cake while they finish decorating their cookies.
Special Touches for Decorating
Having the basics down for any party will help it run smoothly and ensure it is the highlight of the holidays. However, if you really want your party to shine, consider setting up extra stations for your decorators.
- Cookie Painting - Before the big day, dip finished cookies in melted frosting and let dry. This provides the perfect cookie painting canvas. At the workstation, provide flat tipped as well as fine tipped paint brushes that are new and Dixie cups with various food coloring paint. McCormick offers a nice guide to both colors and flavorings you can add. A paper plate is ideal for drying.
- Tutorial Station - Set up your iPad or phone to play YouTube videos to provide a tutorial on an advanced cookie decorating techniques. Of course, provide the decorating supplies necessary to complete the design in the tutorial.
- Stencil Station - Set up a station with cookie stencils, already frosted cookies, and various colored sugars, sprinkles, or edible glitter. This is a great station for kids at a mostly-adult party, or for anyone who wants to make beautiful stenciled cookies.
Christmas Cookie Decorating Fun
While there are a lot of details involved in hosting a Christmas cookie decorating party, the key ingredient is fun! Christmas music, delicious foods and fellowship will make this a memorable holiday event.