The holidays are a time to relax, celebrate, and splurge (responsibly). Whether you use a tried-and-true family recipe or search the Internet for options, there are just some things you have to have at your holiday events. Here are our top eight must-eat holiday treats:

  1. Gingerbread cookies. You can really make any shape of gingerbread cookies"”gingerbread men, women, kids, pets, trains, cars, or plop down a ball of dough and call it a gingerbread snowball. Then decorate them! A  gingerbread house kit might come pre-baked and probably isn't a good idea to eat, but gingerbread cookies are fun to make and delicious to enjoy after!

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  2. Sugar cookies. Sugar cookies with a simple homemade frosting, decorative icing, and festive sprinkles, cut into trees, snowmen, wreaths, snowflakes, and other fun shapes are a holiday staple.

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  3. Assorted holiday cookies. There are so many types of cookies you see this time of year, from jelly-filled ones that look suspicious but probably taste great to those ones with a Hershey's Kiss in the middle and the snowball ones with powdered sugar around them.

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  4. Fudge. You can't beat a simple, smooth, chocolate fudge. Some people are purists and want you to leave the nuts and other flavors out, while some prefer theirs with white chocolate or peppermint stripes and nuts, toffee, and candy cane bits inside.

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  5. Pie. Berry pies, apple pies, pumpkin pies, and pecan pies always make an appearance on our holiday dessert table. Hmmm should we top with whipped cream or ice cream? (Both.)

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  6. Peppermint. Peppermint anything and everything is big over the holidays, from peppermint mochas and hot cocoa to peppermint-flavored cookies, brownies, and fudge. The rest of the year we have to settle for peppermint toothpaste.

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  7. Holiday candies. Candy canes are, of course, the ultimate holiday candy. Use them as decorations, throw one in your cocoa, crumble one up in your brownies, or just eat it! Other candies often have special holiday editions, like holiday M&Ms, Reese's, and festively wrapped mini candy  bars.

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  8. Chocolate. Chocolate should and will be a key player in pretty much everything we have already mentioned, but it's also great on its own.

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What are your favorite holiday treats and recipes?