This year’s Christmas cookie box includes 12 delicious recipes and all my tips and tricks for making the perfect treat box!!
While it might look like all fun and games, a decent amount of thought and planning goes into every gorgeous cookie box you see out there.
Let’s walk through the whole process together to make sure your Christmas cookie box turns out as amazing as possible!
Picking Out the Perfect Mix of Cookies
The key to making a stunning Christmas cookie box is all in the assortment of cookies. You want a variety of flavors, shapes, and colors.
Having a variety of flavors and textures is pretty self-explanatory! It keeps the cookie box interesting and makes sure there’s the perfect cookie for everyone.
In terms of shape, having different shapes and sizes is crucial. It not only gives the box an interesting, eye-catching look, but it also allows you to properly fill the box. If you have a bunch of large cookies, there will be gaps between them that make the box look like it’s not completely filled. Having a mixture of smaller and larger cookies lets you fill in all those little gaps and create a gorgeous-looking box.
It’s also a good idea to consider color. If you have all brown cookies, the box is going to look a bit lackluster. Incorporating some bright pops of color gives the box a festive, cheerful look! This can be done by coloring the cookie dough or frosting, adding some colorful sprinkles, or picking a cookie with a fun design.
If you’re a Type A person like me, you can make a chart with pictures of the recipes you plan to bake to see what it’ll look like. It won’t look quite the same as your Christmas cookie box will, but it’ll help you take a step back and see how all the cookies look together.
Below is my planning grid for this year’s cookie box. I had to fill in some photos of what I was envisioning, like using my polar bear cupcakes as a placeholder for the polar bear cookies. But you get the idea!
I did this with Canva (which I think you can use for free), but Microsoft PowerPoint, Paint or any program that lets you play around with pictures should work.
I decided the mini Christmas tree cookies and stained glass cookies could be unique shapes, and the buckeyes, gingerbread macarons, and mini trees would be small enough to fill in any open gaps.
Planning It All Out and Breaking Up the Process
Once you figure out which recipes you want to make, it’s time to figure out the timeline. This part can vary based on how many types of cookies you plan to make. However, I recommend breaking it up into phases and spreading the work over a few days.
It makes the process so much more enjoyable and reduces the stress around all that holiday baking! Because I was making 12 cookie recipes, I aimed to make them over 3 days and baked 4 types of cookies per day.
As you plan things out, it’s important to look through each recipe and see what the yield of each recipe is. You also want to consider how many cookie boxes you want to make, and how many of each cookie you plan to include in each box before you start baking.
For example, if I want to make 6 cookie boxes and plan to include 4 red velvet Nutella cookies in each box, I’ll need 24 cookies. The recipe makes 12 cookies, so I’ll need to make a double batch when it comes time to make them.
Once you figure out how many batches of each cookie you’ll need, I recommend seeing if you can further batch your cookies to simplify the process.
For example, in my cookie box the snowflake stained glass cookies, peppermint buttercream cookies, polar bear cookies, and mini marbled Christmas tree cookies all use the same base dough.
I made two double batches of dough and frosting to streamline things and it saved me a ton of time!
My baking schedule went like this:
- Day 1: Stained Glass Cookies, Polar Bear Cookies, Peppermint Cookies, and Mini Marbled Christmas Tree Cookies (batched together because they use the same base dough and frosting recipe)
- Day 2: Gingerbread Macarons, Brown Butter Sugar Cookies, Brownie Crinkle Cookies, and Buckeyes (picked the easy cookie recipes I make a lot and am super familiar with to pair with the macarons because they always take a while to make)
- Day 3: Red Velvet Nutella Cookies, Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Cookies, Oatmeal Lace Cookies, and Gingerbread Sandwich Cookies (these were just the remaining cookies to be made!)
Making the Cookies in Advance & How to Store and Freeze Them
Don’t worry, your baking days don’t have to be consecutive! I know plenty of people who make them over a couple of weekends to spread out the work.
With that in mind, storing the cookies properly so they taste nice and fresh when it’s time to assemble your Christmas cookie box is a must. You also want to make sure you have plenty of freezer space available if you want to make the cookies in advance.
An important factor here is that the recipes you chose can be made in advance and frozen. A majority of cookies can, but some can’t. It’s important to check that they can be frozen and to confirm how long they can be frozen for.
All the cookie recipes I used to make my Christmas cookie box can be frozen for up to 3 weeks. However, I made them all about a week before I assembled my boxes.
I recommend freezing your cookies once they’ve fully cooled in an airtight container or freezer ziplock bag with parchment paper between the layers of cookies. If you have any delicate frosting decorations (like my cute little buttercream polar bears!), freeze the cookies on a flat baking sheet before stacking them.
I was able to squeeze all my cookies into a few large airtight containers and freezer bags. Make sure you store any stronger flavored cookies (like the peppermint) separately in their own ziplock bags.
You also want to think about flavor if you combine different types of cookies in one container. Try to group similar flavors. For example, I stored the buckeyes (peanut butter balls) and peanut butter cookies together.
Ordering the Right Christmas Cookie Boxes
While the cookies are the star of the show, the box that they go in is important too! The size of the box that you need will vary based on how many cookies you make.
Because I made 12 types of cookies, I used these 10×14-inch cardboard boxes (a quarter sheet cake box). I liked these because they had a cute lid that showed the cookies, shipped quickly, and weren’t too expensive.
My only complaint is that the boxes weren’t super study. I think the reason they aren’t is because they’re designed for sheet cakes. Generally, you’d put a sheet cake on a cardboard cake board which provides stability.
With this in mind, I highly recommend placing a cardboard cake board underneath the cookies to help support their weight. The cookie boxes can end up being surprisingly heavy!
Most of these ship in a couple of days with Amazon Prime, but make sure you plan accordingly so that the boxes and any cute ribbons or bows you want to decorate them with arrive before you need them.
Assembling the Perfect Christmas Cookie Box
Now that we’ve figured out all the logistics, it’s time for the best part – assembling the boxes!!
If you’re making a larger box like this, make sure to place a greaseproof cardboard cake board underneath the cookies to give the box support and make it easier to carry.
I also folded a large piece of white parchment paper into the box underneath the cookies to give it a cute, homemade look.
You might already know how you want to lay out the cookies if you made a planning grid, but my advice is to have fun with it!
Play around and shift the cookies until you feel happy with how they look. I like to start with the biggest cookies, followed by the smaller cookies. I also tried to space out the colors and cookies that had cute little faces.
Remember that you can arrange cookies on their sides, tie up a stack of them with cute twine, or layer them at an angle to give your cookie box some added dimension. I flipped my gingerbread sandwich cookies on their sides and loved the way they looked!
How Far in Advance Can You Assemble Christmas Cookie Boxes?
While the cookies themselves can be baked and frozen up to 3 weeks in advance, I recommend assembling your Christmas cookie box as close to when you plan to share them as possible.
Sadly most cardboard boxes aren’t airtight, and that means the cookies are going to go stale over time as they sit out.
My general rule of thumb is that Christmas cookie boxes like this have a lifespan of about 2 days. Most of the cookies will still be okay after that, but they will start to dry out and lose some of their flavor.
Another important factor that impacts the lifespan of a cookie box is whether you decorated any of the cookies with buttercream. Cookies with buttercream can only sit out at room temperature for 2 days before they start to spoil.
How to Ship Christmas Cookies
While the process and photos above are great for local deliveries, the process is quite a bit different if you want to ship the cookies.
It’s a good idea to stick with sturdy cookie recipes that can survive a few bumps (you might want to nix the macarons). It’s also important that you factor in ship time when making the cookies in advance so that they still taste fresh when they arrive.
To pack the cookies, try to group similar cookies together in freezer ziplock bags. This is my preferred method because I think it keeps the cookies the freshest. You should be able to fit 2-4 types of cookies in each bag.
Or if you want a cuter presentation, you can also package each type of cookie in its own cellophane bag. Just be sure to seal the top of the bag really well to keep them fresh.
I highly getting some bubble wrap to line the inside of the box to protect the cookies as they ship. You can also fill in any space between the cookie bag with tissue paper, packing peanuts, or festive box filler.
It’s also a nice touch to include a cute little card on top of the cookies.
In terms of the box you use to ship the cookies, I highly recommend using flat-rate USPS boxes. You can pick these up at the post office or order them online. They come in a variety of sizes, are nice and sturdy, ship quickly (you can pick anywhere from overnight to a couple of days), and have a set price no matter how heavy the box is.
I usually opt for overnight shipping because some of my cookies are usually decorated with buttercream.
It’s best to get the boxes in advance and pack the cookies into them at home. That way you can carefully fill each box and tape it up really well before heading to the post office. It’s also a good idea to add a fragile label or write fragile on the box too!!
Then when you get to the post office, you can use the Kiosk to print the labels, drop off the boxes, and be on your way!
You can also overnight the cookies through UPS or FedEx, but I find it’s a lot more expensive.
This Year’s Cookie Assortment
While making 12 cookie recipes was a bit ambitious and took me a few days to complete (especially because I’m 26 weeks pregnant), it was totally worth it in my opinion.
I love the combination of flavors, shapes, and colors!! Below are the 12 recipes I used:
I made mini trees using these 2-inch cookie cutters.
I used this recipe + 1 tsp peppermint extract in the frosting & decorated with crushed peppermint candies.
I used these snowflake cookie cutters to give them a fun shape!
Let Me Know What You Think!
I hope you found this post helpful and that your Christmas cookie boxes turn out amazing!! If you have any questions I didn’t cover above, please ask them in the comments section below.