Project Christmas Cookies: Scope

peanut butter cookies

So while I could keep sending cookies to an increasing list of people every year, my time and cost would also keep increasing.  I’ve found that my good middle ground is send to about 12-15 people/households.  So 12-15 boxes that I need cookies for and then have to package and mail.

I could make 10,000,000 chocolate chip cookies and send everyone those and I’m sure people would be thrilled.  But I like having a variety of things in each box, just a few of many different kinds of cookies.  So before cooking every year I have to make sure that I’m making both a good mix and also making enough so everyone has a satisfying amount of cookies.  In the end it’s a bit too little when sent to a family and a bit too much when sent to a single person, but I figure it’s free cookies in the mail so who complains?

Just remember:  Do not let your cookie list grow out of control (a.k.a. avoid cookie scope creep).


To organize everything, each year I make a spreadsheet.  I list out each recipe and then every ingredient, with corresponding amounts.  sumifThen next to it I do a SUMIF function in Excel to sum up the total amounts of all the ingredients needed.  Because who would have known I’d need nearly 5 cups of brown sugar for my recipes this year.  But I did.  And I did know because I did this ahead of time.

I also have another tab on my spreadsheet with everyone I’m mailing things to, their names, addresses, and if the work for their box is done.  It gets easy to forget someone in the middle of packaging.

What are the types of things that usually go into the box?  I do a mix of candy and cookies.  Here’s what I’ve done some years:

  • 2016:  Caramels, chocolate fudge, pecan pralines, gingersnap logs, peanut butter and mocha checkerboard cookies, cherry cheesecake cookies, molasses cutout cookies
  • 2015:  Caramels, chocolate fudge, pecan pralines, chocolate mint thumbprint cookies, Swedish vanilla butter cookies, cinnamon chip snickerdoodles, Earl Grey tea cookies
  • 2014:  Caramels, chocolate fudge, candy cane cookies, eggnog kringles, pecan pie bars
  • 2013:  Pralines, two layer fudge, pistachio cream cheese sugar cookies, chocolate mint thumbprint cookies, cinnamon chip snickerdoodles, Vienna almond cutout cookies

cherry cheesecake cookiesI try to make cookies that will keep without refrigeration, that will still be good a couple of days after being made, and that are not so delicate that they will be damaged by mail transport.  Where do I get my recipes?  Two Better Homes and Gardens Christmas cookie magazines I bought at the grocery store a few years ago.  And then a few recipes (the pralines) are from other places.  I will write about those another time.

Cookie Scope | Cookie Time | Cookie Cost

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