The most wonderful time of the year brings the most anticipated parties of the year. No, we’re not talking cocktails or dinners. We’re talking cookies…holiday cookies! One of the holiday traditions most eagerly awaited was the baking of Christmas cookies, candies, and bars for the annual Bunco Cookie Exchange Party.
Bakers and sweets enthusiasts joined in the fun, and everyone arrived with a large batch of made-from-scratch cookies, candies, or other festive treats. But before the swap began, we all enjoyed a “Friendship Salad” lunch buffet. The story goes that the big bowls of salad greens represent the big group of friends and each topping represents each friend individually. The hosts, Susan Hebert and Vicki Baker, supplied the salad greens, and all the others contributed a variety of toppings including diced grilled chicken, cheeses, roasted seeds and nuts, cucumbers, tomatoes, and tons more.
After everyone had eaten and socialized a bit, the group gathered in the kitchen where the cookies had been laid out. We oohed and aahed over the decorated treats. The trays were covered in decorated cookies, decadent chocolates, and fragrant crescents – every conceivable round or bar dusted, laced, sparkled, sprinkled, or snowflaked.
We were elbow to elbow with our empty platters and slowly went around selecting cookies from each plate. By the time we rotated a few times, the cookies were gone! While the cookies at the exchange are mostly meant to be taken home, of course there was plenty of sampling along the way.
Between all the shopping, wrapping, decorating, and travel, most of us would put “more time with friends” at the top of our holiday wish lists. The get-together with friends for a fun fete and leaving with enough baked treats for the rest of our holiday festivities was a terrific way to kick off the season and a delicious way to turn a memory making get-together into a beloved holiday tradition.