All the free foods deals in December 2018

December is one of the most hectic months of the year between holiday shopping, breaks from school, work commitments, family gatherings, and so many parties that you might actually get sick of parties. For many people, it's financial crunch time, too. Pinching your pennies might mean you can get an extra gift or two for someone special, and there's nothing quite like being able to bring a smile to someone's face.

So, let's help you save some of that cash, and talk about some of the best free food deals we could find for December. There are a wide variety of goodies up for grabs, too, from free cookies for National Cookie Day to free cheesecake and the chance to get free Frostys every day, all year long in 2019. (Yes, you absolutely read that right.) There's a bonus with some of these deals, too. If you're shopping for someone else, there are a few places that will give you an extra special treat for checking them out — so let's talk freebies.

National Cookie Day

It's kind of appropriate that December 4 is National Cookie Day. Cookies are, after all, an important part of the holiday season, not just because they're delicious, but because everyone has those extra-special recipes their families have been making for generations. Haven't started baking yet? There are places that are giving away a free cookie in honor of this holiday that literally everyone can get behind.

Mrs. Fields is giving away a free cookie to customers who make any purchase (although participation may vary by location, says MLive). Best of all, there are a ton of different choices up for grabs, including their Gingerbread White Chocolate cookie and some less seasonal favorites.

Great American Cookies is also giving a free original chocolate chip cookie to anyone who stops in, and the best part here is that PR Newswire says there's no purchase necessary. And this one's a little weird — if there's a DoubleTree Hilton in your area, you can also pick up a free cookie there, too! The chain is known for their complimentary cookies, and while they're usually just for guests, you don't even have to be staying there on National Cookie Day to get one of these sweet treats.

Cheesecake Factory

No matter how you celebrate, there are plenty of days during the holiday season that just don't seem to have enough room for cooking. Delivery and take-out is a great option, and did you know you can have a meal from The Cheesecake Factory delivered right to your door?

On December 5, they're giving you an extra reason to give it a try. Order through DoorDash, enter the promo code FREESLICE at the checkout, and you'll get a free slice of cheesecake with your order. Why December 5? It's their 40th anniversary, and they're being nice enough to give everyone else a bit of cake instead of keeping it all for themselves. Who doesn't love cake, and especially free cake?

There's another reason you might want to try ordering The Cheesecake Factory delivery through DoorDash this month, too: between December 5 and 11, the delivery fee is waived with no code necessary (as long as you order within normal operating hours).

Hardee's

This one's a little weird — and takes a little work — so bear with us.

Hardee's is finally cutting the apron strings and setting out on their own after years of being pretty closely associated with Carl's Jr. According to MediaPost, you're going to be seeing a lot of new stuff from Hardee's, and that includes a pretty strange partnership with the most unlikely app ever: Tinder. (You might remember both chains went through a teenage-guy phase of featuring scantily-clad women in all their commercials, so this promo isn't totally out of left field.)

Hardee's resident bachelor, Chris P. (get it…. crispy) will be on Tinder hoping to find true love. All you need to do is swipe right on him before December 9 and you'll get a buy-one, get-one free offer on 5-piece chicken tenders. That's not a bad deal, right? Heck, it might be the best deal out there on Tinder right now.

Cumberland Farms

If you stop by Cumberland Farms, there are some brilliant opportunities for you to pick up something quick while you're on-the-go. They have a ton of deals running throughout the whole month, and one of the best involves gift cards. Gift cards can be the perfect gift for pretty much anyone on your list, and if you pick up an XBox or Apple gift card here, you'll get a free hot or iced coffee. Present for them, present for you!

They're also offering a free Cumberland Farms Farmhouse Premium chocolate bar (2.15 oz) with the purchase of any 20 oz Pepsi, Aquafina, or Pure Leaf drink, or a free 1.5 oz bag of Cumberland Farms Farmhouse Kettle Chips with the purchase of a 20 oz Coke product or Dasani. Prefer Mountain Dew or Mountain Dew Kickstart? One of those will get you a free 3.25 or 4 oz. bag of Sweet Treat candy. You'll get trail mix or nuts with Red Bull, and if you haven't had your fill of cookies yet, you can get a free 2.5 oz bag of Cumberland Farms Farmhouse Bakery Premium Cookie Bites with the purchase of a Snapple or Nantucket Nectars.

Wendy's

Here's the one everyone's been waiting for: Wendy's Frosty Key Tag 2019. Sure, it sounds way too good to be true but we assure you, it's true.

From now until January 31, 2019, customers can opt to purchase a little Frosty-shaped key tag. (Investor Place says you can also purchase them in bulk, from the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.) They're only $2 each, and 85 percent of the proceeds from key tag sales go directly to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, and helps fund their work supporting children in foster care and promoting the need for adoptions. It's an amazing cause, but a warm and fuzzy feeling isn't all you get for your purchase.

For all of 2019, just show your key tag at Wendy's, order anything, and get a free Jr. Frosty with any order. There's no limit on how many times you can use it and no requirements on what you need to purchase, so you could go to Wendy's 365 days next year, order a small fry, and get a free Jr. Frosty every day of the year. Win!

And speaking of fries, Wendy's has extended their $1, any-size fry offer until December 26, says PR Newswire

Applebee's

Feel like going out for some festive cocktails with some friend or coworkers? You absolutely need to opt for Applebee's because they have an amazing drink special going on for the entire month of December.

It's called the Dollar Jolly, and as the name suggests, this cocktail will only set you back $1. There are two options — red and green — and if you're a fan of sweet drinks, this is for you. The Dollar Jolly is made with Jolly Rancher flavoring, and is either vodka and cherry- or vodka and green apple-flavored, and you'll get a Jolly Rancher candy along with it. (Participation may vary, and some locations might not be offering this one for the whole month — you'll have to check your local Applebee's.) They're 10 oz. drinks so they're not going to get you too buzzed, which is good — this is where we take a minute to issue an important reminder: to drink responsibly, and don't drink and drive this holiday season. Make it memorable for good reasons, not bad ones.

Burger King

There's a lot going on at Burger King this month, starting with their Pancake Platter. It's three pancakes drizzled with syrup, and now you can pick them up for just 89 cents. (This is a limited time offer, though, with no official end date.)

They also have their 10-piece chicken nuggets on offer for just $1, and if you prefer a sandwich there's a couple of mix-and-match offers on, too. There's a 2-for-$10 meal deal going, and a 2-for-$6 deal on some sandwiches, including the Whopper and the Crispy Chicken.

Now, let's talk about something extra awesome. Remember Cini Minis? Of course They're back for a limited time, says Delish, but there's a catch. You'll have to place your order through GrubHub (they're not available if you place your order at the restaurant), but if you spend more than $10, you'll get a 4-piece order of these miniature cinnamon rolls for free. That's going until the end of December, so there's plenty of time to get your flashback fix.

And there's some free food on offer for your dog, too! Order a Whopper through DoorDash and they'll throw in a Dogpper, a dog bone filled with the "iconic flame-grilled taste" your pup's craving. It's a win for the whole family!

McDonald's

McDonald's is trying to encourage more and more people to order through their app, and they always have some exclusive deals going for those who choose to do so. December is no exception, and we'll start by saying they're making it easy to treat the whole office to a McCafe beverage. Until December 30, you can order five and get one free, or — alternately — you can buy one and get one for a penny.

There's also buy-one, get-one offers on sandwiches, and if you buy one, the second costs only $1. The same deal goes for Chicken McNuggets, Buttermilk Crispy Tenders, and Sweet N' Spicy Honey BBQ Tenders, too. McDoubles, small fries, and medium fries are only $1.

And don't forget, if you're still sitting on one of those Big Mac coins, December 31 is your last chance to redeem them for your free sandwich. Don't worry, they're probably not going to be worthless once we make it into the New Year, though — Time says there's a good chance they're going to start showing up on eBay soon, and they're probably going to be worth more than the price of a Big Mac. Probably.

Smashburger

We told you before about Smashburger's Smash Pass, and it's a massively good deal that does take a little up-front investment. This month, they're going to be offering a special Holiday Smash Pass, and here's the deal.

Pick up a Holiday Smash Pass for $50, and between December 17 and January 16, you can show it at the counter for a free burger, sandwich, or salad every day. Technically you don't need to buy anything to use it, but if you do get a drink, you'll be entered to win a pretty impressive prize: a trip for 2 to Las Vegas.

They do note that if you already have the $100 edition of the Smash Pass, you're not eligible for this deal. At least, that is, not for yourself. You can still pick one up for someone else, and that's not a bad deal, either — there's more people checked off your list! And as a bonus, you can go to Smashburger together and catch up: that's what the season is really about, right?

Starbucks

Starbucks is bringing back their Starbucks for Life contest, and everyone has to admit the grand prize is pretty sweet: one free item per day for the next 30 years. Umm… yes, please!

There are plenty of other prizes, too, and it's a little complicated. You need to be signed up for their rewards program, then you need to sign in to StarbucksforLife.com. When you log in, you'll either get a freebie or a Game Piece. Once you get three Game Pieces of the same kind, you'll get a prize. Doing certain things — like ordering through the app — can potentially get you more Game Pieces, but that changes every week so you'll need to stay on top of that. (Check out the official rules for more details, because like we said — it's complicated.)

But the instant win prizes alone make it worth playing. You can score BOGO offers on any drink, free coffees, and $1 bakery items, among other things.

Del Taco

There's absolutely no way you can go wrong giving the gift of food this holiday season, and Del Taco has you covered. They have gift cards you can buy online or in the store, and while you're there picking up something for someone else, they're going to give you something, too.

Through January 2, you can purchase $15 in gift cards and get a coupon for 2 free Grilled Chicken Tacos. Raise that to $25 in gift cards, and you'll get two of those coupons. You don't need to redeem them on the spot, either — they're good until March, so you can absolutely stock up on stocking stuffers and hook yourself up for lunch for the next few months.

If you order online, the rewards are different. A $30 gift card purchase will net you a coupon for a free small combo meal, and if you buy $100 in gift cards, you'll get four of those coupons. Not bad, right? There's nothing wrong with looking out for yourself!

IHOP

IHOP is getting into the Christmas spirit with a special menu, made in cooperation with the new Universal Pictures film Dr Seuss' The Grinch. There's Grinch's Green Pancakes (which are, indeed, a shade of green you usually only see on plates around St. Patrick's Day), a Minty Who Hot Chocolate, the Who-Roast Beast Omelette, Mt. Crumpit Kids Combo, and Whoville Holiday Cheesecake French Toast. (We said there was free stuff here, not healthy stuff.)

The free part runs through December 31. USA Today says that between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m., kids under 12 get a free entree from the kids' menu with the purchase of an adult entree.

That's not a bad deal, right? Sweet or savory, there's something here for everyone — and it's just festive enough it'll help you get over any Grinch-like grumpiness and feeling a little bit of holiday cheer. It's too often that the holiday season is so filled with hustle and bustle that we forget to take time for ourselves — and a little bit of free food is just what you need.