Christmas Cookies Schedule & 3 Christmas Cookie Recipes

by Ella

Christmas is a season filled with joy, warmth, and a delightful array of sweet treats. Among the most cherished holiday traditions is the baking of Christmas cookies. These delectable creations come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and flavors, offering a delicious way to celebrate the season. Yet, when is the perfect time to start making Christmas cookies? In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the art of holiday baking, exploring the factors that influence your cookie-making timeline, the best strategies for preparation, and a selection of timeless Christmas cookie recipes to inspire your festive creations.

The Holiday Baking Timeline

Determining when to start making Christmas cookies depends on several factors, including your personal preferences, the types of cookies you plan to bake, and your holiday schedule. Let’s explore the different stages of the holiday baking timeline to help you decide when to begin your cookie-making journey:


1. Early November: Preparing and Planning

Many bakers start their holiday baking preparations in early November. This is the time to plan your baking schedule, decide on the types of cookies you want to make, create shopping lists for ingredients, and organize your kitchen.


2. Late November: Gathering Ingredients

As Thanksgiving approaches in late November, you can start purchasing non-perishable ingredients such as flour, sugar, spices, and decorative elements like sprinkles and food coloring. This early preparation helps spread out the cost of baking and ensures you have all the essentials on hand.


3. Early December: Assembling the Dough

The first week of December is an excellent time to begin making cookie dough. Most cookie dough can be prepared in advance and frozen until you’re ready to bake. Consider making a few batches of dough to have on hand for multiple baking sessions throughout the month.


4. Mid-December: Baking Begins

Around the second week of December, you can start your baking sessions. This is the time to bake cookies that have a longer shelf life or those you plan to give as gifts. Cookies like gingerbread, shortbread, and biscotti are ideal choices for early baking.

5. Late December: Final Touches

In the final days leading up to Christmas, focus on baking cookies that are best when fresh, such as soft sugar cookies and delicate butter cookies. These should be baked closer to the holiday to ensure their optimal taste and texture.

6. Christmas Eve: Finishing Touches

For some bakers, Christmas Eve is reserved for the final touches. This may include frosting, decorating, and assembling cookie platters or gift boxes. It’s a festive way to spend the evening before the big day.

7. Christmas Day: Enjoying the Fruits of Your Labor

On Christmas Day, savor the joy of sharing your homemade cookies with family and friends. It’s also an opportunity to indulge in the delightful creations you’ve worked so hard to perfect.

Factors Influencing Your Timeline

Several factors can influence your decision on when to start making Christmas cookies. Understanding these factors will help you tailor your cookie-making timeline to your unique circumstances and preferences:

1. Cookie Types

Different types of cookies have varying storage requirements. Some cookies, like biscotti and gingerbread, actually improve in flavor and texture when stored for a while. Others, such as soft sugar cookies and delicate butter cookies, are best when freshly baked. Consider the types of cookies you plan to make and how long they will remain fresh.

2. Freezing Cookie Dough

Freezing cookie dough is a valuable time-saving strategy. Many cookie dough recipes can be prepared, portioned, and frozen for later use. This allows you to bake fresh cookies as needed throughout the holiday season.

3. Baking Equipment

The availability of baking equipment can influence your timeline. If you have multiple baking sheets, you can bake more cookies simultaneously, which may allow you to start later in the season. However, if you have limited oven space or baking sheets, starting earlier may be necessary.

4. Holiday Schedule

Consider your holiday schedule and commitments. If you have a busy calendar filled with gatherings, parties, and other festivities, starting your baking earlier in the season can help alleviate stress closer to Christmas.

5. Storage Solutions

Your storage options can impact when you start making Christmas cookies. If you have ample space in your freezer or a designated cookie storage area, you can make more cookies in advance. If storage space is limited, you may need to stagger your baking sessions.

Time-Saving Tips and Strategies

To make your holiday baking experience more efficient and enjoyable, here are some time-saving tips and strategies to consider:

1. Make a Baking Schedule

Create a detailed baking schedule that outlines when you’ll bake each type of cookie. This helps you stay organized and ensures that you have a variety of cookies ready for different occasions.

2. Use Dough Templates

Dough templates or cookie molds can speed up the cookie-making process. These tools allow you to create intricate shapes and patterns with ease, reducing the time spent on decorating.

3. Enlist Help

Baking Christmas cookies can be a fun family or group activity. Enlist the help of family members or friends to divide tasks, such as mixing dough, shaping cookies, or decorating.

4. Plan for Cookie Swaps

If you participate in cookie swaps, factor in the additional time needed to bake extra batches of cookies to share with friends and neighbors. Coordinate with your swap group to ensure everyone has enough time to prepare their selections.

5. Organize Ingredients and Supplies

Keep your kitchen organized by arranging ingredients and supplies in advance. This reduces the time spent searching for items and ensures a smooth baking process.

6. Batch Baking

Maximize oven efficiency by batch baking multiple sheets of cookies simultaneously. Rotate the baking sheets and switch their positions in the oven to ensure even baking.

7. Freeze Decorated Cookies

Decorated cookies can often be frozen without compromising their appearance or flavor. This allows you to prepare festive cookies well in advance and saves time closer to Christmas.

8. Store Cookies Properly

Invest in airtight containers or cookie tins to store your baked cookies. Proper storage helps maintain freshness and flavor, allowing you to enjoy your creations over an extended period.

Timeless Christmas Cookie Recipes

To inspire your holiday baking endeavors, here are a few timeless Christmas cookie recipes that have delighted generations of bakers:

1. Classic Sugar Cookies



  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons buttermilk
  • Colored sugar or sprinkles (for decoration)


In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg, vanilla extract, and almond extract.

Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Add enough buttermilk to make the dough soft but not sticky.

Divide the dough into two equal portions. Roll each portion out to 1/4-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters.

Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Sprinkle with colored sugar or sprinkles.

Bake at 375°F (190°C) for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the edges are golden. Let cool on wire racks.

2. Gingerbread Cookies



  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Royal icing (for decorating)


In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the softened butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, molasses, and vanilla extract until well combined.

Gradually blend in the dry ingredients to form a dough. Divide the dough into two portions, wrap each in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until firm.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). On a lightly floured surface, roll out each portion of dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters.

Place cookies on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until edges are firm and slightly darker. Let cool on wire racks.

Decorate with royal icing once the cookies are completely cool.

3. Peppermint Meltaways



  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Crushed candy canes (for coating)


In a large bowl, cream together the softened butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the peppermint extract.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, and salt. Gradually add this dry mixture to the butter mixture, blending until the dough comes together.

Shape the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Roll the chilled dough into 1-inch balls and place them on the prepared baking sheets. Flatten each ball slightly with the bottom of a glass.

Bake for 9-11 minutes, or until the edges are lightly golden. Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle crushed candy canes over the cookies.

Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring them to wire racks to cool completely.

These classic Christmas cookie recipes are just the beginning of your holiday baking adventure. Feel free to personalize them with your own creative twists and decorations.

See Also: Christmas Feast: A Culinary Guide


When to start making Christmas cookies is a delightful question with multiple answers, as it largely depends on your preferences, plans, and baking traditions. The holiday baking timeline provides flexibility, allowing you to balance preparation and enjoyment throughout the season.

Whether you’re an early planner who starts in November or a last-minute baker who enjoys the rush of Christmas Eve preparations, the joy of baking and sharing Christmas cookies remains the same. With careful planning, efficient strategies, and a dash of creativity, you can create a delightful assortment of cookies that capture the essence of the holiday season and bring smiles to the faces of those you share them with. So, embark on your holiday baking journey and savor every moment of this cherished tradition.



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