With everyone concentrating on the gifts they plan to give others at this time of the year, we often overlook the smallest of gifts that are always received warmly.

I’m talking about cookies. The holiday season is nothing if not a time for the baking, giving, receiving and especially consuming of cookies. They are a vital part of the season’s festive spirit, a way to spread cheer and make the days merrier and brighter.

And they are so easy to make, or at least some of them are. With a good cookie — and is there really such a thing as a bad cookie? — the ratio of joy they bring to the recipient to the labor of baking them is off the chart.

This holiday season, I made eight batches of cookies. They range from very easy (sugar cookies) to decidedly complicated (hazelnut crunch bars), but they all fill you with that sparkling holiday spirit, and calories.

The procedure for making them all is basically the same: You cream butter and sugar, add vanilla and maybe an egg or two, and gently mix in flour, possibly baking powder or baking soda and perhaps a flavor such as cinnamon. Then, bake as directed.

It’s hard to believe that so many different types of cookies can be made from this one fundamental outline.

Here are the eight I made:

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