Hosting a Cookie Decorating Party

My boys are both well-versed in the kitchen, constantly helping me with baking & cooking. They even pitch in with our monthly meal plans, picking both new & old favorite recipes, and I’m thankful for their assistance (coming up with ALL our meals can get a bit tiresome for this mom!). When they were younger, an entrée might be all I could persuade from them, but at their current ages of 10 & 13, each boy is vocal about particular sides & desserts they would like, too. I ♥ it!

You may have seen my kiddos featured before in baking & cooking posts, but despite all their helping in the kitchen, my youngest boy still felt deprived of a particular experience: decorating holiday sugar cookies. You see, I’ve only been decorating cookies myself for less than 2 years, and this is only *my* second go-round with Christmas cookies. Last year, all of the holiday cookies I iced were for gifts & orders, and my boys weren’t able to help. (They did, however, make a special set to commemorate their grandparents’ 45th wedding anniversary last summer – too cute!)

Jack has been begging for the better part of the fall season (he wanted to make sure he didn’t miss out this year!), and I thought it sounded like fun as well. And, I figured, if something is fun for me & my boy, it would be even MORE fun with his friends & their moms! Ta-da! The idea of a holiday cookie decorating party was born!

Now, we’ve been working on the details of this festive shindig for a while, and I thought it might be fun to share with readers. I encourage you to consider hosting such a party with the fun little ones in your lives! You could easily do this same party with a Valentine’s Day twist! ♥

Step 1: Decide on an AGENDA. Choose the activities you would like to host with your guests. In our case, we planned on decorating pre-baked sugar cookies, exchanging homemade cookies & treats, having a sweet snack time, and playing a bit of Christmas Bingo.

The gang playing a bit of Christmas Bingo.

Christmas Bingo.

For kid parties, you don’t want to wear yourself out ahead of time planning a bunch of tiny details, as the kids aren’t going to take much notice anyway. ;-) Instead, let your “details” be part of the activities, and the kids will have fun sharing the afternoon together. For example, instead of preparing take-home favors or goodie bags (the fillers for those can quickly add up & become expensive!), we planned for each boy to take home his own newly-decorated cookies, as well as an assortment of treats from their little exchange. A simple set of holiday disposable plates & some Ziploc baggies are all that’s needed to pack up their goodies for home.

Step 2: Now that you have the framework figured out for your party, look around your entertaining space & determine HOW MANY GUESTS you can reasonably accommodate. For our party, each guest (and their mom!) needed ample “table space” to decorate their cookies together. In our home, we have a large dining room table, as well as a bar in the kitchen. Comfortably, we were limited to 8 boys and their mothers, myself & Jack included. As such, Jack was able to choose a list of 7 friends to invite to his party.

Payton and Jan.

Step 3: Write out the GUEST LIST. Make sure you have a way to contact each child & their parent before putting their name in ink. (Written invitations are best, but email, phone call, and messaging work as well.)

Step 4: Choose a THEME for your party. For our holiday party, the theme was “Mother & Son,” and we first found a set of cute snowman invitations (with glitter in the snowman’s belly!) to pass out to our guests. Be sure to write your theme inside your invitations (just as you would note that a party is for a child’s birthday), so the parents are informed. We’d never hosted such an exclusionary party before, but I relished the idea of spending some precious one-on-one time, just we mothers with our sons. ♥

The invitations.

Step 5: Send out your INVITATIONS. If you need a headcount sooner, give the parents a quick call & let them know about the party. Be sure to tell them an invitation is already on the way, too.

Step 6: Plan your RECIPES. Make a list of all the items you will need to create both your sugar cookies & icing, as well as any extra party treats. For our party, Jack chose to make Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies for his exchange cookies, so we added those ingredients to the list. We also decided on quick & easy Reindeer Cupcakes and Festive Fruit Punch for snacking. :-)

Jack made the Festive Fruit Punch.

Jack making the Festive Fruit Punch.

Step 7: Make your SHOPPING LIST. Don’t forget to check & double-check all your ingredients. For easy-breezy party clean-up, use decorated disposable items like plates, cups, forks & napkins. Don’t forget paper towels and gallon-size bags! For our cookie-decorating, I picked up a few packages of disposable bowls as well, to hold the sugars, glitters, candy beads, and more. We also added a few sweet prizes for our Christmas Bingo winners – some mini candy canes & chocolate Santas. ♥

Sprinkles & decorations.

Chocolate Santas for prizes.

Step 8: REMIND your guests, and call to firm up RSVPs. Do this about 3 days before the party, so you can adjust your baking schedule accordingly.

Step 9: Two days before the party, MAKE & BAKE your sugar cookies for decorating. If you have younger guests, consider how many cookies they can reasonably decorate in an hour’s worth of time (perhaps 4-6 cookies?). For Jack’s party, all his attendees were between 9-11 years old, so we opted for one dozen cookies per boy for decorating.

Cookies ready for the boys!

Step 10: The day before the party, BAKE your other treats or PREPARE your snacks. We made the Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies at this point, as well as the Reindeer Cupcakes. We assembled all the ingredients for the Festive Fruit Punch & the Warm Chive Dip, too. (Don’t forget ice, if needed!) Gather your sugars, sprinkles, and candies. Also, MAKE & TINT your icings for decorating.

Treats and snacks.

Step 11: CHARGE your camera batteries. You’ll want lots of pictures of this fun time with your child & their friends! :-D

The decorating crew.

On the day of the party, RELAX. You’ll need only to set up your table spaces for your guests & wait for them to arrive. Just before the party, we made our Festive Fruit Punch, and then I whipped up the Warm Chive Dip with crackers while all the boys were exchanging their cookies/treats. Take lots of pictures, and have lots of fun with your friends!

Jack’s finished cookies – such masterpieces!

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6 comments on “Hosting a Cookie Decorating Party

  1. Kristina on said:

    What great tips!! Thanks Nicole!! Jack sure is gonna take after his momma in the decorating department =)

    • Nicole on said:

      Thanks, Kristina! I was amazed at Jack’s cookies, and he definitely gets the “perfectionism” trait from me. He took foreverrrrrr to finish his cookies, but they were well worth the wait! :-)

  2. What a fantastic party you hosted! The organization and prep-work was top-notch and the it shows in the cookies the children produced. Well done!

    Happy New Year!

  3. Awesome post and what a great time everyone must have had at this party. Jack’s decorating skills have come leaps and bounds since those adorable 45th Anniversary Cookies he did. It wouldn’t surprise me if Jack starts his own blog about baking in the near future!

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I’m Nicole, and I’m glad you’ve stopped by my little corner of the web! I’m a former Air Force wife whose passions are baking, cookie-making, and photo-taking… all to the benefit of my loves – my family! C’mon in to…read more.


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