The Christmas Cookies That Are Must-Haves For Over 24% Of People

Christmas cookies are one of everyone's favorite holiday traditions. Even if you don't do Christmas, you still do cookies, since who doesn't do cookies? People on strict diets with iron self-discipline, perhaps, but although we can admire such stoic citizens, we also feel just a bit bad for them at this time of year. If there was ever a time to dive headfirst into a cookie barrel and not emerge until January, this would be the season.

While there are numerous types of Christmas cookies, with every culture and nearly every family having its own particular spin on the basic theme of flour, butter, sugar, and eggs, there are a few cookies that are perennially popular year after year. In order to determine the very best of the best when it comes to Christmas cookie treats, Mashed attempted to interview the undisputed expert in the field, one S. Claus. Unfortunately, he was too busy to return our calls (surely, we couldn't be on the so-naughty-we're-blocked list?!?), so instead we opted for the next best thing: 656 randomly-selected honorary elves. While a number of different cookies proved pretty popular, the top pick for 24.39 percent of our respondents was a kind of surprising one.

The favorite cookie isn't all that Christmas-y

The surprise factor lay not in the fact that everybody loves the No. 1 cookie in question — it may well be one of the best, if not THE best, cookie of all time — but in the fact that it would be specifically associated with the holidays. Chocolate chip cookies, after all, are perfect in summertime with a glass of lemonade. They are excellent in autumn alongside a PSL. To be honest, we're all going to be eating them well into January and beyond, so they're more of an all-around champion cookie than a top Christmas treat. (If you're looking to make a good thing even better, Alton Brown suggests using bread flour for the thickest, chewiest chocolate chip cookies ever.)

If you're looking for something more Christmas specific, then the Yuletide cookie crown might well be worn by the No. 2 contender, iced sugar cookies, which came in with 20.43 percent of the vote. While sugar cookies are another any time of year favorite (although, as Cookie Monster 2.0 would no doubt remind us, just a "sometime food"), the ones that are specifically iced and cut into pretty shapes are sufficiently labor-intensive that most of us just don't bother with making them outside the month of December.

The also-ran cookies are also good

Gingerbread, which is about the Christmas-iest cookie you can make (even the queen would agree), received 15.9 percent of the vote to take third place. Coming in just out of the money were peanut butter blossoms with 10.21 percent. These don't really look all that Christmas-y, either, but Hershey's this year dropped a new sugar cookie-flavored kiss that's appropriately red, green, and white.

The fifth- and sixth-place finishers were, again, not terribly holiday-ish: shortbread with 8.08 percent and butter cookies with 7.32 percent of the votes. (Surely they don't mean those kind that come in tins, since those ones are only worth buying – at a discount price – for their decorative value alone.) At seventh, oatmeal raisin cookies (seriously, raisins? when you could make your oatmeal cookies with chocolate chips instead?) came in at 5.95 percent. In eighth and last place was a type of cookie that is pretty much a Christmas-only thing, though: rum balls (which can also be made with bourbon, though vodka is inadvisable). Rum balls, like eggnog, hard sauce, and even boozy fruitcake, are a tradition beloved by those who want to slip a little stealthy drinking into their family fun and festivities.

The out-of-the-cookie box entries

With such a wide-ranging topic as holiday cookies, it was little wonder that 5.34 percent of our survey respondents chose to supply a cookie candidate of their own choice. One person voted for Italian Christmas cookies (molto delizioso!), one for Russian tea cakes, one for pfeffernüsse (seems like Aldi might carry these German treats in addition to all the other ones they stock) and three for good old all-American snickerdoodles. (If you, too, are a snickerdoodle fan, this snickerdoodle French toast casserole would make the perfect Christmas morning breakfast.) Trader Joe's star cookies also got a shout-out, and somebody who can't wait for Girl Scout cookie season even voted for Thin Mints.

While we always get a number of cookie haters and shunners of all things sweet (in this case, the number was 9), well, it takes all kinds to make a world. The most relatable respondent, however, was the one who said, "literally all of the above," since, tbh, that's how a lot of us feel, too, at this most wonderful, cookie-ful time of the year.