These are some tips I like to follow when putting together a beautiful Christmas cookie tray.
Pick your recipes. Doesn’t matter from where - this cookbook, the first cookbook, other cookbooks, the Interwebs, wherever. The website Sally’s Baking Addiction has a bunch of great new Christmas cookie recipe suggestions if you’re looking for something new.
When you’re picking, think variety - both in flavor and in visual appearance. Here are some types, flavors, decorations, and colors to consider. Don’t feel the need to follow it exactly, but aim for variety. Types: drop cookies, balls, bars, sliced, shaped, candies, fancy, cups, rolled (like Mom’s candy canes) Flavor variations: mint, chocolate, jam filled, spice, nuts, fruits, cinnamon, peanut butter, citrus Decorations: sugar coated, iced, drizzled, etc Colors: reds, greens, tans, browns, fancy other colors
As much as you can, mix up the dough in advance. Most dough is easily frozen (either in brick or balled form). This allows you to mix up a bunch of doughs on one day ahead of time, and then do a bunch of baking on another day closer to Christmas.
Make all of your cookies and share them with your friends, family, co-workers, mailman, whoever! Each platter/tray/tin you make should contain some of each variety. If you are serving a large tray at your house, I like to add a few store bought chocolate truffles for variety as well, because why not.