The Holiday season is a time of giving and sharing and goodwill... and a plethora of sweets! But who has time to bake delicious treats every week? Add on the extra parties and gift exchanges that require plates of cookies and scrumptious chocolates and one may begin to feel they'll be in the kitchen forever. Instead of slaving away for days to create the perfect cookie sampler, invite your friends over and invest in a few tools that will save your sanity. Together with your cooking cohorts, you can have a cookie exchange where everyone will leave prepared for the coming events. Here's how. Ask around to see if any of your friends might be interested in a night of cookie fun. Have them bake and bring their favorite holiday treat and the recipe. Once you have a group committed, make sure no one is bringing the same item and encourage unique fare. This will help you to end up with a wide variety sure to please everyone's taste. Before the gathering, check to see if you have all the tools needed. A small laminator as well as compatible pouches or film is useful to preserve the recipes. Be sure you have recipe cards, pens, a heavy duty hole punch, and binding rings. If you don't have any of these items, consider splitting up the cost between you and your friends. For example, maybe you have a laminator but one friend is going to provide the recipe cards and pens while another is bringing the film and a hole punch. While everyone is at your house, split up the cookies evenly. If you have a large group, it might be easier to break up into smaller groups to divide cookies. Pass out recipe cards to everyone in a circle. For smooth recipe sharing, have everyone pass their own card to the right and copy down the one they've been handed. Keep doing this until everyone has the recipes they want. If you have a photo copier, copying the cards onto cardstock may be a quicker way to complete this. Alternately, you could have everyone email you their recipe beforehand and then print them out onto recipe cards. Now it's time to break out the laminator. You can find a smaller machine, such as the Xyron EZ Laminator, for less than $60. Xyron devices are high quality and can be used for many other projects. This particular laminator offers a 9" feed, which will accommodate multiple cards at once, and a built-in cutter that can be removed and used alone. The initial purchase of this device also comes with an adhesive cartridge. The Xyron EZ is simple to operate and doesn't require heat or batteries. Once all the cards are laminated and trimmed down, square them up and use a heavy duty hole punch to pierce the corners. Then slide a binding ring through the hole and lock in place. Now you can send each person home with a plate of delicious cookies as well as the recipes for each. This is a fun way to have a productive get together with friends. It costs less than traditional gift exchanges and as a bonus you can get some baking done while hanging out with friends. Cookies can be stored in the refrigerator or frozen to stay good for longer. So put on some Christmas music and invite your favorite couples over; it can be fun to see what everyone brings. Good luck and Happy Holidays!