It's national cookie day!

(CNN) - Haul out the cookie tins - 'tis the season for baking! In honor of December 4, National Cookie Day, here are some tips for the ever-popular cookie exchange:

- Form a group of participants. Make sure the people swapping cookies are committed to doing so. (It's not as much fun otherwise!)

- Establish a date for the swap as early as you can, before the holidays get hectic.

- Consider a sign-up sheet so that you don't end up with 10 dozen Snickerdoodles.

- You could also assign each person a country and have them make a cookie that represents their designated foreign land. Think Lebkuchen from Germany, or Madeleines from France.

- Set a few ground rules: How many cookies is each person bringing to eat at the exchange? How many cookies is each person bringing to actually exchange and send home with others? Usually a half dozen per person to exchange, and a full dozen to eat on the day works well.

- If you're hosting, try to find a cookie tin for each participant so they can take their loot home easily.

- Consider baking an extra dozen to donate to a local bake sale or shelter.

- Make sure to take allergies into account - nothing ruins the holidays like a trip to the ER. Cookies can be lactose-, nut- and gluten-free.

- Don't forget recipe cards so attendees can recreate their favorite cookie.