For 13 years, Bruton and her neighbor, Karen Beck, a nurse at WellStar Kennestone Hospital, have hosted an annual cookie swap, inviting friends and family. Beck and her husband, Steve, have twins, Rachel and Michael, the same age as Brutons’ son.
“Karen and I love it. It is a great opportunity to see our friends and have fun during the holidays. I can’t tell you how many people ask us if we are still doing it each year,” Bruton said. Bruton and her husband, Marietta City Manager Bill Bruton, have two children, Bill, who attends University of Georgia and Shelby, 15, who attends Mount Paran Christian School.
Guests bring their favorite type of cookie on a tray along with an empty container to take some home.
“Every person that participates must make four to five dozen of one type of cookie. This will ensure that everyone will get to try each others’ cookies, and that there is enough to go around,” she said.
“When guests arrive, they bring their homemade cookie platters downstairs to place on one of the several large tables. Their empty large containers go under the tables so they are easy to find later. We socialize for several hours with lots of food and beverages,” Bruton said.
Then the swap is called to order and guests gather around the tables. “It is kind of like an assembly line where everyone takes a cookie and keeps moving around and around the tables until all the cookies are gone. Everyone receives the same amount or a little more or less depending on how many cookies they want,” she said.
“When it is all done you will have four to five dozen of all sorts of different types of cookies,” said Bruton, who teaches kindergarten at A.L. Burruss Elementary School.
The party that began with 12 people and has grown to more than 50 in attendance was started as a way to meet neighbors and to include other new friends. “The reason we do it the Saturday before (Christmas) is so everyone has cookies during the holidays,” she said.
“It’s always so much fun to stop and enjoy each others’ company. We always do it early in the afternoon so if people have other social nightly events to attend they will have plenty of time,” she said.
“After the exchange, they are free to stay and continue to socialize or move on to another evening engagement. It’s been a tradition that some people stay into the wee hours,” Bruton said.
“Traditions are important because they enrich our lives. This event is so much fun and it brings so many people together. It’s a time to relax and socialize with your friends and take home some yummy cookies,” Bruton said.