It seems like the busier you are in the kitchen, like during the holidays, the less time you spend with your kids. Why not mix the two - cooking and kids - and help them bake cookies for their very own Christmas cookie party? After all, cookie exchanges aren't just for adults. Kids love parties and kids love cookies... so it's a winning situation in my book.

First off, you'll need to explain to your children how cookie exchanges work; each guest will make cookies and bring enough so everyone at the party can have one. And do let them know that, while they can certainly eat a few cookies at the Christmas cookie party, most of them are for taking home and eating later!

Your kids can make up the invitations using markers, stickers, glitter, and anything else they choose to make the invites beautiful. But before they do that, decide on how many kids should be invited. It depends on the ages of your kids, but I suggest you keep the number to fewer than twelve. Decide on how many you can handle and go from there.

Involve your children in the party planning and empower them with the decision- making process. They can decide on another appetizer or two to serve, and they can choose party games they'd like to play.

If you'd like, presents can be a part of your kids' cookie exchange. For example, you can ask each child to bring a wrapped book and they can exchange presents with each other. They'll not only take home some wonderful cookies, they'll take home a great book and fun memories.

It's probably best to set up a few rules regarding the cookies. These are pretty common:

  • The cookies should be made by the kids themselves, with parents helping as necessary.
  • Off limits - chocolate chip cookies (too ordinary) and No-Bakes.
  • Cookies should be made from scratch, not from a tube from the grocery store.

Plan for your kids (and you) to make their cookies the morning of the party. That way the cookies are fresh, but there's no melting chocolate on little fingers that somehow ends up on the sofa.

Another good idea is to remind your kids to use their best manners and make only positive comments about their friends' cookies. Point out that each kid probably worked really hard to make the cookies and even those that look a little funny are sure to taste great.

A Christmas cookie party is a fun way to spend some time with your kids in the kitchen during the holiday season. Help you kids mix up the cookie dough, sprinkle in some laughs and love, and you've got a recipe for some great holiday memories.