All of my friends know I’m cookie crazy. If I can find an excuse to make a Christmas cookie, I will. So, this year I hosted a first annual Christmas cookie decorating party for a few of my friends. It was a ton of fun, quite a success, and we will be doing this every Christmas!! I think a holiday cookie decorating party is something everyone should do, and I want to share a few tips to make it the best and easiest holiday party ever! It’s also a party that both adults and kids can enjoy together! My son had a blast, particularly when my friend offered to pipe icing straight into his mouth!
How to Host a Christmas Cookie Decorating Party
Make the cookies and icing ahead of time.
It’s all about the prep.
Make the cookies and icing ahead of time so you can get straight to the decorating!
You can make sugar cookies as early as you want because they are easily frozen for storage. (My favorite sugar cookie is this chocolate sugar cookie.) I freeze my cookies by wrapping them in layers of plastic wrap, with the wrap between the cookie layers. They can also be made the day ahead without freezing them.
Royal icing can be made the day ahead as well and refrigerates well. As far as icing goes, I would stick with the royal icing because it will dry much quicker than buttercream icing will. It is also easier to control for decorating.
I would pick 2-3 cookie-cutter designs to stick with so you can have less icing to make/color. I would suggest two Christmas themed cutters and one simple circle for creativity. Christmas cutters such as wreaths or trees are very fun and lend themselves well to sprinkles. Avoid the more difficult cookies to decorate, such as Santa (he’s a tough one to decorate).
Have plenty of supplies for cookie decorating.
Make a huge batch of the icing, and then divide it into smaller bowls so your guests can make their own colors. (You can also make the colors you want ahead of time too, but that takes out half the fun.) I have an array of different colors, and I personally use Americolor. They have nice sets of food coloring.
I highly suggest holiday sprinkles. As my son made note of during our party – sprinkles hide any mistakes! Next year, I also plan to have some holiday M&Ms to decorate the trees with!
You will want plenty of icing bags, icing tips (a size 3 tip is perfect and versatile), plastic bowls to mix any needed colors, plenty of scribe tools (toothpicks work well), and various candies. (I also use squirt bottles for flooding icing and I found this was easier for my son to handle.)
Set up a cookie drying station.
You need a place to set the wet cookies for drying. I love using a wire cookie rack for this. We only had one, so we had to resort to letting them dry on some baking sheets too, which worked fine. I didn’t do this, but next year I’ll likely have a small fan to have blowing on them to help with drying. Many professional cookie makers do this.
Have some appetizers on hand.
Guests may get very hungry while decorating cookies (and the hostess). It is nice to have some food on hand. I’d recommend some chips and dip and other finger foods. (I’ll be honest – I didn’t do this. It was a mistake! We were so hungry and ended up going out to eat afterward! That was super fun too, but next year I’ll have food!) Don’t forget to have drinks as well.
Keep some supplies on hand to send people home with their Christmas cookie creations.
I had some cute boxes on hand, but some of the icing was still wet. So, we used paper plates to create a safe home for the cookies and wrapped that in plastic wrap. (This was my friend’s idea – she’s very innovative!)
I hope these tips will help you throw your first cookie decorating party. I can’t wait to throw my second Christmas cookie party next year! With the first year under my belt, I just know the second year is going to be even better!! You can keep up with all my crazy ideas on Instagram. (If you aren’t following me yet, why not?!)