Cookie Exchange Raises the Bar on Holiday Baking

snow globe cookies

Here at Elfster, we consider ourselves experts on pretty much “all things holiday” — we are elves after all! Picking the perfect presents, keeping tabs on Santa’s nice & naughty lists and helping your holidays come off without a hitch. You name it, we’re you go-to elves! But when it comes to creating sweet treats, we’ve certainly met our match! 

We are super impressed and inspired by a group of over 200 talented and creative ‘Secret Cookie Elves’ who have created cookie perfection — with a pinch of joy and a dash of love — to share in an online cookie exchange with other cookiers far and wide. And these mini-masterpieces are certainly not the average “Santa’s milk and cookies.”

Cookie Bakers Find Inspiration in Each Other

We recently caught up with the cookie baker/Gift Exchange organizer who took time out of her busy holiday season to bring together these talented cookie artists.“My name is Murrah Rodriguez and I live in the California San Francisco Bay Area,” explains organizer of the ‘Secret Cookie Exchange’ hosted on Elfster. “I am an elementary school teacher and I also run a small cookie business called Burnt Cookies by Murrah. For the last 3 years, I have been decorating sugar cookies and sharing my creations on Instagram. Through this fun hobby turned business, I have had the privilege to become a member of the online cookie community and let me tell you, it is full of wonderfully supportive friends.”

vintage holiday cookies

“The members of my community connected through cookies!” she says. “We communicate often through social media to encourage and find inspiration in each other. Many of us have also become friends in real life, connecting with those local to us or utilizing video chats. The gift exchange has helped foster those friendships.”

What the World Needs Now is Love, SWEET Love

“I think that this year especially, we have all felt a bit isolated and in need of connection,” Murrah explains. “Doing a gift exchange isn’t about getting presents, it’s about the fact that someone took the time to create something just for you. Not only that, you then have the ability to reach out to them, even if only on social media, to hopefully create a positive connection.” 

nutcracker cookies

“The expectation is that each person send their secret recipient at least one decorated sugar cookie around the holidays,” Murrah explains. “Most will also send an additional small gift. In the package, they will include their name and Instagram handle, so they can connect with their Secret Cookie Elf.”

‘Secret Cookie Exchange’ Becomes an Annual Tradition

“My favorite thing about social media is the chance to connect and build community, so last year I started a Secret Cookie Elf Exchange to help spread some joy. It was such a hit, that I ended up capping it at 100 participants and turning people away so I could handle the organization of it. This year, everyone wanted to do it again! I knew I wanted to expand this year to be as inclusive as possible. The ease of Elfster allowed me to more than double the participants this year! I am thankful at how easy it was to organize,” Murrah says.

gift tag cookies

“One fun thing about our exchange is that not only do we get to receive our own surprise, we get to see what others receive. When someone gets their package, they normally post it to their Instagram page or stories using a hashtag. This year it is #secretcookieelf2020. If you follow this hashtag, you will see the gifts arriving, being unboxed, and the reaction of the recipient,” she adds.

The elves are proud to host these amazing bakers in there mission to spread sweet joy in a year that may otherwise lacked connection. We’re looking forward to next year’s sweet creations already!

Looking for some baking inspo of your own now that you’ve seen the best? Here are some of Williams Sonoma’s hottest cookie recipes of 2020. All you need to add is your own network of cookie fans. And, if you want to be surprised and organize your cookie swap Secret Santa style, Elfster will help you get the job done.

If you want to set up your own inspirational exchange for your online community with ease, you can use a Secret Santa generator. With Elfster, you can easily pair people up, inspire one another, and start a Wish List. Plus, you can access it all from an iPhone app or Android app.

Featured Photo: Cookies by Alysia @simplybaked_by.alysia; Top image: Cookies by Sharon @flourcrownco – Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; Middle image: Cookies by Kim @ellascookiejar – Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; Bottom image: Cookies by Megan @downtowndoughto – Toronto, Canada

About Meghan L 212 Articles
Meghan L has been elfing it since she joined the team in 2009. She enjoys coordinating exchanges, talking to organizers, and all things Christmas. Join her for an eggnog latte anytime at