Every year my girlfriends and I have what you would call a cookie swap party. Each of us make one type of cookie and divide the batches at the end. We leave with a massive amount of assorted cookies, fit enough to give out as gifts — and in this economy, cookies are a present that no one will want to exchange.
I always prefer to make the simple sugar cookies, as they're quick and easy to prepare when you're in a pinch, and they always go over best when decorated with homemade icing. For less than $10 in ingredients, you can make at least 6 dozen cookies and colored icing. And, if you're short on time, you can also easily use a store bought sugar cookie mix for the dough, roll it out, and have at it with Christmas cookie cutters. They then can be beautifully decorated, making them almost too cute to eat — almost.
Here's my recipe for a simple, throw-together icing that will save you a few bucks over buying it pre-made.