One of my favorite family traditions during the holiday season is making dozens of cookies using my favorite Christmas cookie recipe and whipping up a big batch of frosting and decorating Christmas cookies with my family. I’ve had it in my mind for several years to host a cookie decorating party once the girls got old enough to really enjoy it and this was finally the year! Our family has been big on cookie decorating since the beginning. Each year, a few days before Christmas, I bake a bunch of sugar cookies and we get together to decorate them all. Matt, my mom, and I get pretty competitive and make a competition out of it. Peighton votes for the winner and it’s usually herself. It’s really so much fun. This year, we took our cookie decorating to another level by inviting some of the girls’ friends over for a fun morning of cookies and cocoa for our first ever Christmas Cookie Decorating Party!
This party is one of the favorites I’ve ever hosted because you really can do as much or as little as you’d like. I loved how simple it was to put together but more than anything I’m excited to share my tried and true sugar cookie recipe that results in the most perfect Christmas cookies! I’m joining a few of my blog friends in a virtual cookie exchange, hosted by Camila from Effortless Style, to share some of our family favorite cookie recipes! Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for my Christmas Cookie recipe and to check out the yummy cookie treats from my blog friends!
This Christmas cookie decorating party was such a fun way to celebrate the holidays with friends without committing to a big holiday party. It was great for both girls’ age groups and all of the kids had so much fun. In addition to decorating cookies, we had a few other fun hands-on activities that the kids enjoyed.
After hosting this party I do have some tips on making a Christmas Cookie Decorating Party a big hit.
Here’s my tips to hosting a Christmas Cookie Decorating Party for friends:
Bake the cookies days ahead of time.
I baked a little over 100 cookies over several days leading up to the party. My plan was to have about 8-10 cookies per child. This would give them enough cookies to decorate and eat as well as some to decorate to take home.
Stock up on sprinkles!
I had been collecting holiday sprinkles whenever I saw them out at the stores. My favorite place to pick up seasonal sprinkles is Home Goods and TJ Maxx. They always have a unique variety of sprinkles that you can’t find elsewhere. The other spinkles came from Michaels and Target.
Use Squeeze Bottles for Frosting
Make lots of frosting and put them in squeeze bottles for easy application. I got a set of squeeze bottles from Amazon – you can find those here.
I made a buttercream frosting that I had a thinned a little bit with milk. Going forward, I’ll probably make more of a royal icing because the buttercream was difficult for the children to squeeze out. That being said, this is my favorite buttercream recipe so it will be hard to replace. I made frosting in red and green and well as white.
Make it easy and fun for your guests
We asked that our party guests come in their jammies and prepared for fun! The idea was to have our party first thing in the morning so our guests would still have the whole day ahead of them. We rented two kids banquet tables and some chairs so everything was at their level. Additionally, I set up a display table with the cookies as the main attraction.
Use paint palettes as sprinkle holders.
We doled out the sprinkles ahead of time onto individual paint palettes so when our guests arrived they already had a cookie and a plate full of sprinkles to decorate with.
Set up a cookie drying station.
As the children decorated the cookies, we set up a drying area in our kitchen to allow the “done” cookies to set. We rolled out a bunch of parchment paper then wrote the children’s name in sharpie, then they would just line their cookies up underneath their name. You could also purchase some baking sheets at the dollar store and use one of those per child.
Have other fun activities for kids to enjoy
We had several stations set up with other activities for the kids to enjoy if they got bored with cookie decorating. Once they tired of decorating cookies, they would move on to the other table we had set up with a bunch of different little craft things they could make and take home. This was perfect in allowing the cookies enough time to dry so they would transport easily.
Have take home bags or boxes for them to put their cookies in
I got some cookie boxes from Amazon (these are the ones) that were perfect for transporting the cookies home. These boxes fit about 8 cookies easily.
I think our guests had a great time and I know my girls loved hosting their friends for a fun morning of creativity and lots and lots of sugar at our first ever Christmas cookie decorating party!
Now, onto the sugar cookie recipe because you need it in your life!
3 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 c. salted butter
1 1/3 c. sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth – about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat until it’s nice and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla.
In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add half of the flour mixture to the mixer and beat in slowly, then add the other half, mixing until combined (be sure not to overmix).
Remove dough from the mixer and shape it into a disk on a large piece of plastic wrap. Wrap the dough tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for two hours or overnight.
When you’re ready to bake, remove the dough from the fridge and preheat oven to 350°.
Divide the dough in half, placing one half back in the fridge and rolling out the other half.
Generously flour the rolling surface and rolling pin.
Roll cookie dough out to approximately 1/4 in thickness. Cut out cookie shapes with your favorite cookie cutters and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet, roughly 2 inches apart (I’ve placed them much closer and the cookies do not spread much).
Bake the cookies for 9-11 minutes or until the bottom is a perfect golden color – watch them carefully to be sure they do not overbake.
Let cookies rest for another minute on the cookie sheet before transferring them to a cooling rack to allow them to cool completely.
So, there you have it – our favorite sugar cookies made for our super fun cookie party. We’ve made this recipe for five years in a row now and we absolutely love it. I’d love to hear about your favorite cookie recipe – let me know in the comments. I’d also love for you to hop around and visit my sweet friends and check out the cookie recipes they are sharing! Find them below!