29 Nov

Nostalgic North Pole Cookie Exchange

Kids Christmas Cookie Exchange Party - North Pole Theme

This new NORTH POLE INSPIRED holiday theme from Anders Ruff will have you feeling like a kid in a Mrs. Claus’ cookie shoppe! And speaking of cookies, there are some ridiculously cute versions that showed up for this party… from Gingerbread Man pops and “santa postage stamp” designs to traditional round cookies sporting glittery North Pole motifs (just to name a few!).

Some of my favorite party details include the hanging winter mitten advent calendar (which doubled as a super cute garland for the fireplace mantle), the hot cocoa bar complete with fun mix-ins like red hots, peppermint sticks, cookie crumble and fudge drizzle, the parade of shiny red cookie stands, and the feather and rhinestone-bedecked North Pole Pillows. Oh ya… and we can’t forget all the fabulous paper details, which are all available in the Anders Ruff Shop and include everything from recipe cards to milk carton shaped favor boxes!

Kids Christmas Cookie Exchange Party - North Pole Theme

Kids Christmas Cookie Exchange Party - North Pole Theme

Read on for lots more playful, festive images + all the creative party details…

Kids Christmas Cookie Exchange Party - North Pole Theme

Kids Christmas Cookie Exchange Party - North Pole Theme

Kids Christmas Cookie Exchange Party - North Pole Theme

Kids Christmas Cookie Exchange Party - North Pole Theme

Kids Christmas Cookie Exchange Party - North Pole Theme

Kids Christmas Cookie Exchange Party - North Pole Theme

Kids Christmas Cookie Exchange Party - North Pole Theme

Kids Christmas Cookie Exchange Party - North Pole Theme

Kids Christmas Cookie Exchange Party - North Pole Theme

Kids Christmas Cookie Exchange Party - North Pole Theme

Kids Christmas Cookie Exchange Party - North Pole Theme

Kids Christmas Cookie Exchange Party - North Pole Theme

Kids Christmas Cookie Exchange Party - North Pole Theme

Kids Christmas Cookie Exchange Party - North Pole Theme

Kids Christmas Cookie Exchange Party - North Pole Theme

Kids Christmas Cookie Exchange Party - North Pole Theme

Kids Christmas Cookie Exchange Party - North Pole Theme

Kids Christmas Cookie Exchange Party - North Pole Theme

Kids Christmas Cookie Exchange Party - North Pole Theme


PARTY DETAILS, as told by Maureen

“When I think back to my childhood memories of Christmas, I immediately think of the warmth and comfort I would feel when seeing images of The North Pole.  From Santa and his reindeer to the stockings, mittens and candy canes, these were all symbols of the “feeling” of Christmas.  There is a certain nostalgia that those North Pole “symbols” bring, which I want to carry through with my own family as well.

This year, we designed a “North Pole” Collection that is perfect for adding style to any Christmas party or gift exchange, but also has elements that are perfectly tailored for a Cookie Exchange or baking party.

For the printable graphic collection, we incorporated vintage-yet-modern holiday elements in a red, aqua and white hues palette to reflect the feeling of the North Pole.  These colors paired with patterns like vintage gingham, candy cane stripe and modern dot patterns resulted in a fun, versatile collection for the most diverse in design taste!  The full decor collection also includes some new items such as our hot cocoa bar printables, advent calendar hanging mittens printables, and brand new gift tag concepts.

Photo Shoot Location
We shot this collection at a beautiful timber frame home in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina.  Steve Frellick, owner of Yonder Luxury Mountain Rentals, built the home and has the most amazing mountain homes that he rents.  It was the perfect setting with the timber beams in the kitchen and rustic charm of the fire place and mantle in this mountain luxury home.  Yonder also has beautiful downtown lofts to rent for vacations in Asheville.


Decor & Creative

The kids wore custom aprons from Made by Morgan for the baking party and then changed into their custom pjs (also from Made by Morgan) to open some gifts by the tree.

For our dessert table for this North Pole Cookie Exchange party, we wanted to highlight all of the fabulous cookie vendors that have contributed their desserts throughout the year to our parties and holiday photoshoots.  Simple red cake stands on a stark white table cloth made a bold display statement while keeping the focus on the beautiful works of art – the cookies! A Fabulous Fete sent us 4 red cake stands and then we saw the cake stand tutorial in The Party Dress magazine, and decided to make some more of our own (an EASY DIY project using wooden candle sticks and wood plaques).  To display the cookies, we used our 2” party labels on front of the cake stands and embellished them with ruffled crepe paper.

A framed printable poster of a graphic of Santa was hung on the backdrop. (This cute little Santa poster is included in our new North Pole collection!)

To add some whimsical style to the windows around the backdrop of the dessert table, we made a circle garland out of our patterned papers (which we printed 2-sided).
Next we punched the paper with various sized circle and scallop craft punches and sewed the circles together, leaving a little space in between.  We hung this garland over the dessert table window and around the hood of the stove.

The front of the dessert table was adorned with precious coordinating felt stockings from RikRak.  We embellished some of those with printable party logos from our collection.

Sur La Table let us use their fabulous red Kitchen Aid stand mixer along with some precious red melamine baking utensils and dish towels. We also hung a handmade wreath over the stove.

We displayed the materials on a fabulous runner that Nikki of Nikki in Stitches made for our photo shoot.  Nikki just came out with a tutorial ebook that shows how to make the runner, wreath and the handmade paper ornaments that you see on the tree.

For the cookie exchange portion of the party, the children sat at the bar and started out by mixing and baking some cookies.  We setup dishes ahead of time with ingredients to make it easy.  The kids loved cutting out the cookies, and especially enjoyed eating them.  We displayed vintage glass milk bottles with paper straws and party flags, since you always need milk with your cookies!

We also setup a Hot Chocolate Bar where we displayed different ingredients in little ramekins on our red cake stands.  We displayed a printable hot cocoa bar menu and labeled the ingredients with party flags.  Marshmallows, cookie and cream crumble, old fashioned peppermint sticks, red hots, whipped cream and more!  Two Sugar Babies made some adorable fondant gingerbread men that we used to decorate the display as well.  The children loved mixing their own hot cocoa with the various ingredients.  They were all garnished so differently and that was a very easy activity for the younger children to participate in.

Adorable red polka dot favor boxes from My Little Love were displayed on the table and the children could fill up their box with cookies from the dessert table as part of the exchange.  For the smaller items, we assembled the printable milk carton favor box from our collection.

The children displayed a plate of cookies for Santa along with a “Letter to Santa” {using a template from our printable collection that they filled out}.

The Fireplace
The beautiful fireplace at this mountain luxury home was easy to make beautiful!  We displayed a printable party poster of Santa from our collection on the mantle along with tissue poms, lanterns and adorable pom pom trim.  Huge fabric tubes were wrapped with candycane wrapping paper and displayed on the left and right side of the mantle. (Totally reminded us of the North Pole!)

Our new Printable Advent Calendar mittens were hung from the mantle and filled with small candies.  Gifts were packaged and we introduced several new printable gift tag collections that we displayed on the gifts.  Santa stamp gift tags, hangtags and circle tags all coordinate perfectly with the complete collection.

A white feather tree by the fireplace was decorated with sweets (both real and fake) and creative DIY ornaments.  We hung real candy cane and mitten cookies from ribbons (Cookies by Allyson Jane).  An easy DIY was our candy cane lollipop ornament that we hung from the tree.   Very easy to make by using a white/red striped pipe cleaner, lollipop stick and our printable party flag.  We also placed a printable “North Pole” sign at the top of the tree.  The adorable and creative DIY paper aqua and red ornament balls were also hung from the tree. Nikki In stitches shows how to make these precious ornaments in her ebook.

Below the tree were gorgeous custom pillows that MonMell Designs just added to their new line of handmade pillows featuring Anders Ruff graphics.  The “Letter to Santa” pillow actually includes a printable that slides into the pocket to leave a letter to santa under the tree!  So precious!  The children loved that pillow as well as the North Pole square pillow with the adorable aqua contrasting trim.

The party ended with the kids unwrapping all of the gifts that they got each other!
This is a tradition we will continue for years to come.

The “North Pole” Collection Printable gift tags, decor collection, hot cocoa bar set, advent calendar and invitation are available in the shop on sale!



– Complete Event Styling: Anders Ruff
– Printable decor, hot cocoa bar, gift tags, advent calendar mittens (available here): Anders Ruff
– Photography by Becca Bond Photography
– Photo Shoot Location in Asheville, NC: Yonder Luxury Mountain Rentals

Clothing and Decor:
– Custom Aprons and Christmas Pajamas – Made by Morgan & Missy Annie’s
– Custom “Letter to Santa” and “North Pole” Pillows (with Anders Ruff graphics): MonMell Designs
– Felt Stockings by Rik Rak
– Handmade Ornaments, Runner and Wreath: Nikki in Stitches (DIY Tutorial Book available at her website)
– Red Wooden Cake Stands: A Fabulous Fete (and some DIY)
– Paper Baking Cups, Paper Fans, Tissue Poms, Nut Cups, Paper Straws, Favor Boxes, Glass Milk bottles from My Little Love

–  Mexican Hot Chocolate sandwich cookies: Red Bird Bakery
–  Fondant Cupcake and Cookie Toppers: Two Sugar Babies
–  Santa Stamp and Santa Cookie Pops: Sweet Sugar Belle
–  Sugar Cookies (Glittery Candy Cane, North Pole & Hanging Mittens): Allyson Jane
–  Sugar Cookies (Square Pattern, Santa Stamp, Candy Cane, Mini Gingerbread Men & Reindeer): The Cookie Jar
–  Gingerbread Man Cookie pops: Oh! So Yummy Cookies and Confections
–  Chocolate Covered Pretzels: Pretzels Pleaze

Crafty Materials/Printing:
–  Labels: Onlinelabels.com
–  Adhesive: Glue Dots
–  Poster Printing: Sign Guy

Comments 12

jenn s.


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Latisha Horton (Eccentric Designs) SAYS:

Beautiful as always : )

November 29, 2011 at 7:52 am

The Party Wagon SAYS:

Gorgeous in every way!! I love it!

November 29, 2011 at 8:29 am

Maureen Anders of Anders Ruff SAYS:

Thanks so much for the feature, Jen and HWTM team! We LOVED working on this party and are so happy you could share it with your followers.
Happy Holidays!

November 29, 2011 at 9:32 am

strawberrierose SAYS:

Adorable! :)

November 29, 2011 at 7:20 pm

Yesi SAYS:

simply gorgeous!!!!

November 29, 2011 at 9:31 pm

Pretzels Pleaze SAYS:

This party was Amazing! Wonderful job!!!

November 30, 2011 at 2:24 am

Nikki, In Stitches SAYS:

Thank you so much for featuring Anders Ruff’s amazing party! It was such a pleasure working with them and the other vendors. The pride and care that everyone puts into their work shines through!!

November 30, 2011 at 6:01 am

michelemediavilla SAYS:

What an extraordinary Christmas shoot. The colors just pop and give off an err of nostalgia. What talented artisans.

November 30, 2011 at 7:13 am

Nicolle-Libby Lane Press SAYS:

What a great party and the kids look like they enjoyed every minute! Such a talented group of designers/creative professionals involved.

November 30, 2011 at 8:53 am

nancy pfeifer SAYS:

Ohhhhh my!! these girls just blow me away every time!! adorable!!

November 30, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Curso de Reposteria SAYS:

What a way to start the X-Mas month. Seems to be delicious.

December 2, 2011 at 2:49 am

Karen @ Sugartown Sweets SAYS:

Absolutely one of the prettiest parties I’ve ever seen! The blue and red Christmas color combo is just beautiful!

December 13, 2012 at 5:47 am
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