Almost 20 years ago, Cookie Monster adopted the slogan “Cookies are a sometimes food” as part of a story arc about making healthier choices. But if cookies are reserved for special occasions, the holidays are definitely one of those sometimes.

In anticipation of the holiday giving season, PPAI Media talked to Stephanie Rach, owner of California-based distributor and baker SuperLove Cookies & Gifts, and Mitch Silver, vice president of sales and marketing for Chicago-based distributor Printable – and self-proclaimed “voracious cookie eater” – about why cookies make great promo.

“Cookies are loved by people of all ages and backgrounds,” says Silver. “They are a universally appreciated treat, making them an ideal gift that can appeal to a wide audience.”

Whether your target audience includes children or adults, he adds, most people enjoy indulging in a delicious cookie.

Promo is all about making connections and memories, and a cookie is the perfect way to achieve “an immediate trigger to home connections and comfort,” says Rach.

“People always comment that it’s just an immediate good feeling,” she adds. “It may go away quickly, but the memories last longer.”

Plus, a gift that engages the senses, especially taste and smell, grabs the recipient’s attention in a way that apparel and hard goods simply can’t, Rach says.

Food gifts also come with the potential for a low- or no-waste experience. Look for suppliers who offer keepsake containers or packaging that is recyclable or compostable so that when the goodies are gone, the wrapping doesn’t end up in a landfill. For example, SuperLove uses a food-safe, compostable wrap and offers kits with cookies stuffed in a branded tumbler or mug, which both enhances the gift and reduces the packaging needed to keep the cookies intact.

“We always use eco-friendly or keepsake packaging. Everything can be discarded mindfully,” says Rach, adding that for clients with environmental and corporate social responsibility targets, promo that helps them achieve those goals is “a win for everyone.”

Kits are another winner, and combining cookies with other related items, like branded recipes and cookie cutters, can help keep the sweet times coming after the initial goodies are gone.

“Just thinking about freshly baked cookies make me smile,” says Roni Wright, MAS, vice president of The Book Company, a supplier based in Florida, and 2020 PPAI Hall of Fame inductee. “That’s why cookies, and in turn, cookie cookbooks, have a universal appeal. Promotional products that create a positive message, provide long-term exposure and are useful and practical always sell well.”

Bottom line, she adds, cookies make people happy.

Here are some sweet treats to consider for your holiday self-promos and client programs:

milk and cookie gift box with custom messaging

Silver sent this Milk & Cookies Gift Box to top clients to celebrate his company’s 30th anniversary. Each includes two 8-inch cookie canisters and a shelf-stable bottle of Fairlife milk in a custom-designed box. “Not only are the bite-sized cookies tasty, but the cookies can be direct mailed in airtight canisters without additional packaging,” he says. “Sofia’s can even include personalized messages on the outside of the tin, including recipient names.”

Sofia’s Cookies | PPAI 481271, S1

iced sugar cookie dots gift in custom branded tumbler

Send Sugar Cookie Dots solo or stuffed in a branded mug or tumbler (shown) for added impact and reduced packaging. These bite-sized sugar cookies are baked crisp and buttery to perfection, then topped with Guittard white chocolate and sprinkled with sugar in your choice of color(s). Every order contributes to care packages for military and emergency services personnel working in the U.S. and abroad.

SuperLove Cookies & Gifts | PPAI 810506, D1

holiday cookie cookbook

This Holiday Cookies cookbook provides dozens of foolproof recipes for cookies, bars and savories of all textures, from simple holiday classics to more decadent fare like caramel cheesecake bars. Customize with a one-color imprint, belly band or promo page insert.

The Book Company | PPAI 218850, S5

=cookie shots with custom branding and gift box

Cookie Shots are cookies shaped as a shot glass for a dunk-free (but slam-dunk) twist. Choose from classic chocolate chip, decadent double chocolate, rich red velvet or fragrant cinnamon churro (with vegan and kosher options). Order by individual, two or six made-to-order branded cookie shots in a custom-decorated box.

Dirty Cookie | PPAI 814973, S1 

shortbread cookies stamped with custom messaging

Stamp your client’s logo on buttery Vanilla Shortbread Cookies for a delicious way to increase brand awareness. Give them to clients as a thank-you gift, treat employees on birthdays or retirements or hand them out as party favors.

Delight Patisserie | PPAI 821786, S0

sugar cookie decorating kit gift box

Give an interactive experience with the Sugar Cookie Decorating Kit, which includes 12 sugar cookies ready to deck out with mini M&M’s, chocolate chips, rainbow sprinkles, chocolate sprinkles, rainbow nonpareils, two Nutella packets, three icing packets and two spoons in a brandable box.

Midnite Snax | PPAI 113793, S3

custom branded gingerbread house kit

This ready-to-assemble Gingerbread House Kit includes all the elements needed to build the memorable holiday classic, as well prominent branding on the custom-printed box.

Corporate Confections | PPAI 649067, S1

cookie mix and cast iron skillet gift set

For a gift that keeps on giving, try the bestselling Lodge and Fresh Beginnings Cookie Mix and Skillet Set. After baking a giant, shareable cookie using the custom-labeled cookie mix, recipients can use the 6.5-inch preseasoned cast-iron skillet, which features a branded silicone sleeve handle, to cook up anything else they might want.

NC Custom | PPAI 111662, S7

gift box with cookies, brownies, hot cocoa mix

What’s better than a cup of hot cocoa on a chilly winter night? Cocoa and cookies, of course! Give both with the Cookies, Brownies & Hot Cocoa Gift Box, which contains a dozen chewy cookies and brownies, two each of six varieties, plus two hot chocolate packets. These treats come in a silver gift box tied with a white ribbon foil-stamped with your client’s logo.

Maple Ridge Farms | PPAI 114165, S8

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Beyond Thanksgiving and Christmas

Plenty of people celebrate other fall and winter holidays, such as Hanukkah and Diwali. If your clients are looking for sweet treats to mark these occasions, make sure to find out the right date(s) and look for festive promo products that aren’t Christmas-themed.

Both Hanukkah and Diwali festivities include lights and sweets, and both are celebrated on different dates each year. This year, Hanukkah begins at sundown on Thursday, December 7, and ends the evening of Friday, December 15. Diwali will be celebrated on Sunday, November 12 (but can be as early as October).

two scented candles with custom label in gift box

Share a little light with a Scented Candle 2-Pack in Kraft Window Box, available in sugar cookie scent, as well as berry spice and lemon verbena. Choose silver or bronze screw-top tin with custom decoration on the lid.

SnugZ USA | PPAI 112982, S11 

Hanukkah brownie gift box

Send sweet wishes with a Hanukkah Gift Box of individually wrapped, certified kosher brownies and cookies. Order from six to 48 pieces, with each gift presented in a holiday blue box or kraft paper box with festive sleeve.

Fairytale Brownies | PPAI 317978 S5