You love to bake. Your kids love to bake. Your three best friends and their kids love to bake. And it's the holidays, so you've all gone hog-wild. Why not invite everyone over to swap (and sample, of course) each other's specialties?
What you'll need:
Holiday-themed serving trays
Holiday-themed paper dessert plates
Plain white candy and cookie boxes of varying sizes (available at baking supply stores and Websites)
Waxed paper sheets (also available at baking supply stores and Websites)
What you'll do:
Upon arrival, have each family set out its holiday treats on the serving trays, with you and the other adults inscribing the names of your confections on place cards. Set filled platters out around the table.
While the adults are setting up, give each child several of the plain white candy and cookie boxes, along with the holiday and alphabet stickers. Reserve some of the holiday stickers for use later. Have children decorate the boxes (which everyone will use to take home their swaps) with the holiday stickers; use the alphabet stickers to put your child's name or the family's name on the box, so everyone will be able to identify them at the end.
Let everyone have a tasting of the goodies, using the paper dessert plates, and then let the kids play bakery shopkeepers, as the parents go around choosing which, and how many, confections will come home with them. Use wax paper sheets to wrap and separate cookies and candies within the boxes; use extra holiday stickers to seal the boxes until you're ready to set them out at your holiday celebration. (Because you know how Dad can be about, um, "double-checking" things "to make sure they're still fresh.")