Seasonal Beer vs. Christmas Cookies: Which Wins the Holiday Calorie Conundrum?

By , Elizabeth Lowry, Staff Writer
Just as you solidified your vote for the best boozy fall beverage, Christmas ales and winter lagers have moved in to officially replace the Oktoberfests and hard ciders found on grocery store shelves. Much like the popularity of fall brews, there is no shortage of winter beers vying for attention. lists 50 different brews as their top-rated seasonals, choosing from among the hundreds of varieties on the market. What will continue to remain constant this holiday season, though, are the high calorie counts found in many favorite holiday treats—from beer to Christmas cookies. 

If you find yourself wanting to participate in the gluttony of the season, but are stymied by weight maintenance or even—gasp—trying to lose a couple pounds and keep up your healthy lifestyle over the holidays, know you are not alone. While there may not be very many low-calorie beer or cookie options from which to choose, you can at least go into your holiday parties and family functions armed with a head full of nutritional information.

Though many of the beers and cookies listed below share the same ingredients—think nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla and ginger—not all pair the same when it comes to calorie counts. When faced with such decisions, how will you know when to splurge and what to skip? Get to know how some of the most popular Christmas beers compare with their cookie counterparts.

(To make these yummy cookies at home, visit the links below.)

Iced sugar cookies  
Peanut butter blossoms
Chocolate Crinkles
Peppermint Dark Chocolate
Spritz cookies
Chocolate Fudge
Mexican wedding cookies

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DEE107 9/1/2019
thanks Report
well that certainly is food for thought Report
It doesn't seem like fair comparisons... LOL Report
Great article! Report
I agree with Nemesis on this one. calories are burned different however, I also think that the point of the article was just was has less calories or maybe what is the worth to you as you choose. Very interesting article. Report
I stayed away from sweeteners(cane sugar, corn syrup) last year and so beer was a better choice as any sugar was eaten by the yeast in the brewing process. And as someone said a beer will last a lot longer than a sugary cookie. I love sipping on my hoppy IPA's. Moderation is key, right? And hey, they make gluten free beers. Report
Last Christmas I gave up sugar completely. So this Christmas I will be a year sugar and gluten-free. For me, I have found many alternative healthy treats such as a crutless cheesecake with fresh fruit that hits the spot. I am not a Beer drinker so that's good. A glass of wine will do but this year I am working Christmas Eve and Christmas day. I will cook a gluten-free Lasagna and that alone will be nice treat plus leftovers. Report
Talk about a real Hobson's choice. Report
Thanks for sharing. Report
Trying to say no thank you to both this season. My body runs better on less sugar. Beer and cookies and chips used to be my diet. Report
Is beer a common festive drink in the US? It's not here. Report
9 spritz cookies? That seems like too many. Eat just a couple and skip the beer entirely. Report
I loved your cookie recipes! Report
thanks Report
Thanks for the great article! :) Report
I can’t drink any liquor, Be it beer, wine 🍷 or mixed drinks. I hope everyone has a Super & Blessed Saturday! Linda! Report
Ah but I don't like beer ! Report
Since presumably those beers are 12 oz., an idea would be to split one with somebody and you'd still get the enjoyment of a holiday beer for half the calories... Report
Oh if it were only about the calories. Report
I go for the cookies, beer makes me sick, and I eat more than one at a time. Because it's Christmas, lol. Report
Christmas cookies win every time for me. But then, only 1 or two of them, and I am happy, so ends up less calories in the long run. Report
Sigh. If I drink the beer, I would probably eat the cookies too!! I lack self control. Report
For me, it is Christmas cookies all the way -- healthier is my usual choice -- usually as sugar free as I can get or make them -- I mainly only eat one or two when I know the nut stats -- not just dip into them at parties or get-togethers.
I am apparently really in the dark as far as the beer option goes --- as I don't drink beer. It doesn't even sound Christmasy to me! For me a cold Christmas or New Year's drink is more like a cold diet soda or my own recipe for cold eggnog. Most seasonal drinks are warm or hot - like cider, hot cocoa, or even a pumpkin spiced coffee -- all within the guidelines of healthy recipes. Report
What?? ONE thumbprint cookie is 250 calories?!?!?! Forget it; I'll take the beer! It lasts longer. Report
Cute. Makes ya think. Report
It takes a lot longer to drink a beer than to gobble a cookie, at least for me. Report
Interesting article. I think it's meant to keep things in perspective and to be mindful of what we take in, whether it's beer or cookies. Calories are there for frame of reference, but I wouldn't use them as the only way to compare between foods/beverages. Choose wisely. My treat would to have a nice pint of Guinness - it's enough for a meal or a dessert, but I'd also be sure to run an extra mile or two on my usual run. Report
Actually they're right alcohol IS metabolized differently (and FASTER) than other carbohydrates. Report
I might disagree with you, Nemesis. It's my understanding that our bodies metabolize sugar the same no matter where it comes from unless it is in a piece of fruit. But I might be wrong. It would take me longer and I probably would enjoy a beer. I could never eat just one cookie either.....
So I'm going to remember this! Report
Interesting article. I'm with NEMESIS, a simple calore comparison misses the boat. And, for me the decision would be entirely different. It would not be a choice between beer or cookies. It would likely be whether or not I'm even willing to pay the price of having the cookie or beer at all. More often than not these days, my response is "No. Thank you." My body feels and functions so much better without cookies and beer. Report
Interesting article, but alcohol and white sugar each affect our bodies and metabolisms differently, so unfortunately it's not as simple as comparing calories. Report