Michelle Hardin arriving at the cookie exchange with gingerbread people!
After 15 years, I guess it is a true tradition! I am speaking, of course, of the annual cookie exchange my friends and I have each December. It has become the unofficial kickoff of the Christmas season for many of us.
I am attaching a copy of this year’s invitation to the end of this post. A whimsical design by Katrina Roberts of Moxley Carmichael, it contains all the “rules” for the event. Although, if your group is like ours, you probably don’t care if folks follow all the rules. (One person actually brought bakery cookies this year, but we pretended not to notice!)
Just put out some good brunch or lunch fare and add Bloody Marys, mimosas, red wine, white wine and beer (from Cherokee Distributing Company, of course) and stand back as your friends swamp the cookie table selecting their favorites. This is an awesome way to spread cheer in this special season. Do try it! (Note: All but one of the photos on this blog post were taken by Moxley Carmichael’s digital storyteller, Pam Rhoades. The one that she didn’t take is the one that she is in. She set the lens and asked Susan Brown to press the button! Thanks, Pam!)
Monique Anderson, left, and Mintha Roach.
Susan Brown, left, and Shaun Fulco. Susan, a non-cook, is our bartender every year. A very important job.
Ranee Randby, left, with Pam Rhoades.
Dr. Martha Buchanan, left, with Mary Ellen Brewington.
From left, Margaret Rodgers, Kristin Grove and Rachel Ford.
Katie Kline, left, and Dawn Ford.
From left, Janet Testerman, Lauren Miller, Gay Lyons and Shaun Fulco.
Annette Winston, left, and Sara Rose.
Judy Griess, left, and Michelle Hardin.
From left, Judith Foltz, Sara Hedstrom Pinnell and Rachel Ford.
From left, Julia Bentley, Kathy Darnell and Kristin Grove.
Ellen Robinson, left, and Annette Winston.
Lots of things get discussed!
Wanna see some cookies?
Nutella cookies made by Lauren Miller. They were fantastic. She said they were easy!
Very orange-y madeleines came from Monique Anderson, who loves to cook (and bake) French food.
Red velvet cookies.
Rachel Ford brought peanut brittle. (Her husband, Terry, made it.)
These had the Christmas spirit going on!
Ellen Robinson made very seasonal peppermint bark.
Janet Testerman’s Italian Christmas cookies. Great presentation!
I don’t know who brought these, but they were darn good!
I named this little guy “Nosey.” He came from Ellenburg Nursery. Isn’t he great?
But before the actual cookie exchange, lunch! So, here’s my strategy on lunch at this event. Everything must be make-ahead food. Menu: three big salads (lentil, pasta and green), fruit, and honey-baked ham with rolls and various condiments. Whew! It worked! (Of course, with all those cookies, I didn’t need to concern myself with dessert!)
The salad buffet.
It’s not hard to get the line started! The pace of this party is phenomenal. Folks arrive at noon, and everyone is gone by 2:30! It’s a busy season. Folks have other commitments. That’s why this party works out so well. You gotta have lunch somewhere, right? Might as well get some cookies while you’re at it!
That’s a reindeer’s antlers behind Rachel. She’s not growing a horn!
I’m glad I’m moving to a bigger place soon. Maybe next year’s guests won’t have to sit on the floor!
Dawn Ford always announces the process: Take a few of each kind of cookie, but be sure and SORT your cookies into individual plastic bags before too long. If not, the peppermint starts to flavor the other cookies, as does the ginger. And soft cookies make hard cookies get soft! This we have learned from experience!
Some have a strategy. Some just grab!
This is a person with a strategy!
Nosey gets an eyeful.
Wow! Dawn had a good haul!
Christi Branscom seems happy with hers, too. See, she’s got them sorted!
That’s what Margaret is busy doing here.
Shaun was pleased with her pickings. (I had grabbed a bite of one and got caught by the camera!)
The aftermath. (These went to the office! My office loves this party!)
Cute picture of Christi and Kristin getting ready to leave.
Jennifer Holder, left, saying goodbye to Janet Testerman. Love these ladies.