After battling holiday shopping crowds, staring down checkout lines, and listening to the same rendition of “Here Comes Santa Claus” on repeat for weeks on end, you deserve a treat. And nothing cures the winter blues like a little butter, a little sugar, and a little spice coming hot out of the oven. Yasss, the Christmas cookie is the answer, my friend, and nothing will give you that oh-so-joyful sugar rush quite like it!
Whether it’s a merry gentleman made out of fragrant gingerbread or a flaky shortbread morsel, nothing signals delight quite like these tasty treats. These delicious desserts have held a venerable spot in holiday celebrations since the middle ages. Queen Elizabeth I is even credited with starting the tradition of transforming plain old gingerbread into the gingerbread men we enjoy today! These festive cookies bring back warm, happy memories — whether you baked them with your family, or just enjoyed scarfing them down before they cooled. As children, we learned to be generous by saving a few for the big man himself, helping him power through his busy evening. The high you get from these cookies is almost as good as Christmas morning. Almost.
No matter if your cookies are spiced or iced — when that pastry hits your lips, wonderful things start to happen. So go grab your favorite holiday sweet, and take the Polar Express to Flavortown! Here's what to expect when you take that very first bite.
1. Your Taste Buds Do A Little Dance
You've been smelling that alluringly sweet, toasty smell, and your mouth has been watering in preparation for this very moment. You've finally lifted the cookie to you lips. "This is it! The moment we've been waiting for!" screams your body. And the second that cookie hits your tongue, your 10,000 taste buds explode in applause. The sweetness! The saltiness! Your mouth is overjoyed. Each of the 100 taste receptor cells per tastebud are partying like it's spring break 1999! They are having so much fun, they just have to go tell your brain how freakin' awesome this cookie tastes!
2. Your Brain Gives You A High Five
Your brain is super pumped for all your tastebuds and it is thrilled with your excellent choice of cookie. In fact, your brain loves sugar! It loves it so much it wants to reward you, so it unleashes some lovely dopamine. That's right — the same chemical that the old noggin rewards you with during sex or even drugs. Not that Christmas cookies are drugs... right? I mean, sure it brings you tons of pleasure to eat these sugar cookies, but you're not addicted to them.
Wait. Where did all the cookies go?
3. You Hear The Music
As the happiness hormone washes over you, it fills you with cheer. "This is what the holidays are really about!" You think confidently to yourself, allowing the pastry to dissolve on your tongue. Finally, all the stress over buying gifts and seeing your family for the first time in months is fading away. You hear sleigh bells merrily jingle in the distance, and your favorite holiday tune starts to play in your head. As you swallow the cookie, you feel yourself finally getting into the Christmas spirit.
4. The Sugar Gives You A Spike Of Energy
The cookie is now being digested, and hurried along into your small intestine. Enzymes are breaking down the sugar into glucose and fructose. Insulin is being secreted and your cells are looking forward to enjoying using that glucose as energy. You feel like you could run a marathon! Or, at least, take a brisk ten minute walk.
5. You Lose Control For A Moment
After eating cookie after cookie, you can't stop won't stop! It all feels too good! You know you should leave some cookies for later, but you don't want to ever come down from this sugar high. Nobody can make you! The frosted snowmen, stars, and trees tremble in fear. No cookie is safe!
5. The Secrets Of The Universe Are Briefly Revealed
You've reached a pure state of being. You have become one with the cookie. The sky opens up and Santa appears. He pats you on the back and opens his mouth to tell you something. "What is it Santa? What is the true meaning of Christmas? Is there life on Mars?" You ask him, imploringly. Just as he's about to speak, it starts to snow — and the vision fades from view.
6. Nap Time!
Suddenly, you are incredibly sleepy and your clothes are covered with red and green sprinkles. All that sugar made you crash hard, but it was totally worth it. Maybe you'll just take a little tiny nap — and then have a few more cookies!