Cookies have been swapped! Let Christmas begin!

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!


Chowing down.

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!

OK, go!

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.

So, here’s a recipe for you. It’s for Pub Cookies — everything you like about a pub, but in a cookie! Yep: beer, pretzels and peanuts! Click here:

This photo is from the Cherokee Distributing Company website: Pub Cookies.

And here’s that invitation with all the “rules.” You need to do this next year!









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29 Responses to Cookies have been swapped! Let Christmas begin!

  1. Charley Sexton, on December 7th, 2017 at 9:54 am said:

    As someone who gets to enjoy the key feature of this party (THE COOKIES!), I want to say congrats on 15 years. Wow! And THANK YOU for sharing the cookies with the office.

  2. Pam Rhoades, on December 7th, 2017 at 9:56 am said:

    Fantastic cookie exchange party, Cynthia! And, lunch was absolutely delicious. Thanks SO much!

  3. Cynthia Moxley, on December 7th, 2017 at 9:59 am said:

    Pam: You are the only one who had to work for your lunch! Thanks for taking the photos. Love your new lens!

  4. Shaun Fulco, on December 7th, 2017 at 10:01 am said:

    This was my 11th year attending this fun party! Thanks for including me and thanks for continuing this awesome tradition. So much fun! Oh and the person with a “strategy”, was me. Ha!

  5. Cynthia Moxley, on December 7th, 2017 at 10:01 am said:

    Charley: I’m just glad to have somewhere to take them!

  6. Cynthia Moxley, on December 7th, 2017 at 10:05 am said:

    Shaun: I was trying to figure out who that was! But, a lot of people were wearing that color, so it was hard to know. Thanks for clearing that up!

  7. Ellen Robinson, on December 7th, 2017 at 10:27 am said:

    Peter loves this event — YUMBO! Cookies are WAAAY gone from Chez Acly. Thanks, Mox.

  8. MARY PAT TYREE, on December 7th, 2017 at 10:30 am said:

    Can I come next year? My Greek/Polish grandmothers passed down some wonderful recipes.
    Love your blog. Merry Christmas!

  9. Cynthia Moxley, on December 7th, 2017 at 10:46 am said:

    Ellen: I believe the husbands and children like this party as much as (or more than!) the guests do!

    Mary Pat: Wow! With credentials like that, consider yourself in!

  10. Maria Cornelius, on December 7th, 2017 at 11:06 am said:

    The Monday at Moxley Carmichael after this party is the BEST DAY EVER. I skip breakfast so I can eat more cookies.

  11. Deborah Sams, on December 7th, 2017 at 11:35 am said:

    Every single cookie looks divine! Merry Christmas!

  12. Cynthia Moxley, on December 7th, 2017 at 11:36 am said:

    Deborah: They were pretty darn good! Merry Christmas to you, too!

  13. Lauren Miller, on December 7th, 2017 at 12:33 pm said:

    I’m not sure which I enjoyed more – the cookies or the company. Both were great!

  14. Cynthia Moxley, on December 7th, 2017 at 12:36 pm said:

    Lauren: So glad you could come! LOVED the Nutella cookies!

  15. Gay Lyons, on December 7th, 2017 at 2:08 pm said:

    This is the BEST way to kick off the holidays every year. Worth baking 6 dozen cookies! What a great group of women. Thanks for doing this, Cynthia.

  16. Monique Anderson, on December 7th, 2017 at 2:47 pm said:

    I call this the kickoff to the holidays also. Cynthia: Did I see a picture of you? Great Women and Great Cookies!

  17. Ranee Randby, on December 7th, 2017 at 3:11 pm said:

    It was, and always has been, a fabulous party. Has it been 15 years??? I shudder to think of the calories! But what fun!

  18. Mary Ellen Brewington, on December 7th, 2017 at 3:21 pm said:

    The Cookie Party is fun every year! And all of these smart beautiful women are great cooks too. Thank you for sharing your gift of hospitality and joy with me! xoxo

  19. Annette Winston, on December 7th, 2017 at 9:15 pm said:

    I love this get-together every year. It gives me a chance to catch up with a lot of people. Your lunch was delicious. I’d love those salad recipes. I don’t think I’ve missed one, from the days on the boulevard to this condo above Barry’s old office. Can’t wait to see the new place.

  20. Georgiana Vines, on December 10th, 2017 at 11:52 pm said:

    I have received a gift of lens for my iPhone. Would like to talk with Pam Rhoades about how to use them. Hope we can connect soon.

  21. Melissa Feinbaum, on December 11th, 2017 at 11:12 am said:

    Wonderful holiday gathering with so many wonderful ladies. Happy Holidays to all!

  22. Cynthia Moxley, on December 11th, 2017 at 11:14 am said:

    Thanks, everybody, for the kind and encouraging words!

    Georgiana: Just give Pam a call at our office. I know she’ll be glad to help.

  23. Kaite Kline, on December 12th, 2017 at 5:59 pm said:

    Hey — there was more than one bakery cookie there – just sayin’. Cookies were wonderful, and Mox – your food is also so good. Thanks for hosting us – it is my kick-off to the holiday season, too. Merry Christmas!

  24. Cynthia Moxley, on December 12th, 2017 at 8:15 pm said:

    Katie: Really? Oh, well. Who cares, as long as they are that good!

  25. scott waldner, on December 15th, 2017 at 9:10 am said:

    Looks like a fun time and the cookies look delicious. Janet Testerman’s Italian Christmas cookies look exactly like my wife Libby’s Russian Tea Balls, so she is stealing her lovely presentation with the cranberries for next year.

  26. Cynthia Moxley, on December 15th, 2017 at 11:22 am said:

    Scott! It’s great to hear from you! Hope you and the family are having a wonderful holiday season! I agree about the cool presentation with the cranberries. Definitely worth stealing! Hello to Libby!

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