21 Trader Joe's Holiday Items, Ranked: What To Binge, What To Skip

trader joe's holiday christmas items

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trader joe's holiday christmas items
Wilder Shaw / Cheapism

Sweetson's Greetings

When Trader Joe’s holiday items drop, it’s a big deal. Throughout the winter season, it can feel like it's all people are talking about. Since the cult-favorite grocery store offers more Christmas items than you can count, you may be wondering which products are worth buying.

Want to know where to start? Here are 21 Trader Joe’s Christmas items you can find in stores right now, ranked from best to "eh, I could do without it."

trader joes maple butter

When Does Trader Joe's Get Christmas Items?

Trader Joe’s usually starts packing the shelves with holiday stuff around the second week of November. At first you’ll see a more autumnal, Thanksgiving focus, but the minute T-Day is over, expect Joe to roll out the Christmas carpet.

Butter Toffee Pretzels
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Best: Butter Toffee Pretzels


I’m not a huge pretzel maniac by any means. If they're are on the table at a bar, I will smash some because I’m a farm animal who will eat whatever is put in front of me, but I rarely buy them of my own accord.

As for these pretzels? Trader Joe’s will have to pry them from my cold, dead fingers. Foof, these are good. I’m a toffee fan in general, but Trader Joe’s Butter Toffee Pretzels are bursting with warm, caramel, brown buttery flavors, and paired with the salty crunch from the pretzel, this snack really has it all. I don't think I could eat an entire bag, but ... keep an eye on me.

trader joes Taste Test of Caramels
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2. Taste Test of Caramels


This is what I’m talking about. Sure, Trader Joe’s has a ton of tasty treats for us to enjoy throughout the winter, but where’s the fun in just giving us exactly what we want? Where’s the danger? Where’s the adventure?

Inside this box of mysteries, that’s where. Joe has lined up 12 chocolate caramels for us here, and while the box lists the flavors included (like gingerbread, double espresso, hot chili, and more), it does not tell us which is which. It is up to us to guess. This type of thing is no longer just chocolate: It’s a game. Great work, everybody. I’ll buy this every year.

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Dark Chocolate Rondos Sprinkled With Raspberry, Strawberry, and Tart Cherry
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3. Dark Chocolate Rondos Sprinkled With Raspberry, Strawberry, and Tart Cherry


I had no idea what these were going to be, but wow. I love the absolute hell out of these “rondos,” which are basically little chocolate discs. This particular flavor is dusted with what seems to be some freeze-dried berries. I am a huge fan of the dark chocolate/red berry thing, so this is playing into extreme bias. Though I can probably only eat about half a disc since they're so decadent, I would happily eat this for dessert after a great meal any time.

Related: 10 Best Trader Joe's Gifts for the Holidays, According to Loyal Fans

Baton Lover's Quartet
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4. Baton Lover's Quartet


I’m a baton lover, so as you can imagine, this is quite a quartet for me. The orange one is my favorite, though the rest of the flavors (cookies and cream, hazelnut, and cocoa) are very good. I generally like wafer-ish cookies, and with four flavors packed into one tin, this has to be one of the best Trader Joe’s holiday items for the price.

Related: Trader Joe’s Superfans Are Obsessed With the Store’s Wool Trivets and Wreaths

Multi-Flavor Mini Pretzels
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5. Astounding Multi-Flavor Mini Pretzels


We've got another four-in-one situation, and you better believe that one of them is the infamous Jingle Jangle. Coated in peanut butter, Joe-Joe’s cookie bits, and “chocolate gems,” aka M&M’s, Jingle Jangle is one of the most popular holiday items at Trader Joe’s.

During the holiday season, it's not uncommon to have to wrestle somebody for the last box, so the fact that this pack also includes three other flavors (pretzels covered in coffee candy, milk chocolate, dark chocolate drizzle, peppermint, and more) is a steal. There was no world that it belongs outside the Top 5.

Related: Best Store-Bought Desserts from Trader Joe's

Boozy Little Chocolate Truffles
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6. An Assortment of Boozy Little Chocolate Truffles


I got carded when I bought these. For real. I’d love to take that as a compliment but I’m choosing to interpret it as a sign of aggression. It is what it is. 

These are a lot of fun. It’s the perfect “I’ll just have one” kind of snack, because really, one is satisfying enough. When it comes to the mystery caramels, you know I’m always trying to pull that lever just one more time, to see what I get. With the boozy truffles, I’ll pop one of these guys and be just fine.

English Toffee with Nuts
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7. English Toffee with Nuts


Clearly, Joe is going for an Almond Roca dupe. As far as I’m concerned, this one is superior. There’s a whole lot less almond and a lot more toffee here, and that’s exactly the note I would have given to improve Almond Roca in the first place.

peppermint bark
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8. Peppermint Bark


I have incredibly inconsistent feelings about peppermint bark, and this is because I’m not a white chocolate guy. Depending on how prominent the white chocolate is, my feelings about peppy bark can be mixed.

TJ’s nailed it on this one. There isn't an overload of white chocolate, the bark offers a balanced amount of milk chocolate, and there's just enough peppermint to crunch down on. No notes for this recipe. Even I could crush an entire square, no problem.

Mini Dark Chocolate Mint Stars
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9. Mini Dark Chocolate Mint Stars


These seem to be an attempt at a dark chocolate-covered Thin Mint dupe, and they would’ve gotten away with it if it weren’t for those meddling sprinkles. They simply do not belong here. The mint and dark chocolate flavors are really all you need. Bringing in a new element just throws it off. These cookies are good but there is no substitution for the real thing.

Mini Gingerbread People
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10. Mini Gingerbread People


I don’t really see how these could be improved. You’re looking at as solid a pre-packaged gingerbread cookie as you’re likely to find. They remind me pleasantly of Biscoff, which you probably know from any Delta flight you’ve ever been on. 

Fudge icing coats one side of these guys and it's nice, but to be honest, I’m not sure it needs it. Not that I’m complaining.

Salty Honey Toffee Milk Chocolate Covered Crackers
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11. Salty Honey Toffee Milk Chocolate Covered Crackers


Boy, that is so many words. These are very good, but I want them to be amazing. They just look like they should be. I think we could ditch half of these ingredients – any of them, honestly – and make a better product.

Multi-Flavored Joe-Joe's
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12. Astounding Multi-Flavored Joe-Joe's


First thing’s first: I love the way this is written as a … circus performance? “Trader Joe’s and the Astounding Multi-Flavor Joe-Joe’s” is a fantastic name to give a box of cookies. The bummer is that, as I'll mention further down, Joe-Joe’s simply aren’t as good as Oreos. This combo box contains Double Chocolate, Peppermint, Peanut Butter, and Vanilla Ginger.

The biggest shock of the whole ordeal is that I like Vanilla Ginger the most. I’m not generally the guy who likes a vanilla-ginger thing, but here we are. If you’re throwing a holiday party, this is a safe bet to please the masses. 

Candy Cane Chocolate Covered Almonds
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13. Candy Cane Chocolate Covered Almonds


My process of tasting these went a little something like this.

One of these: Wow, that’s good!

Two of these: Dang, all this white chocolate is heavy, but I want a few more.

Three of these: These are so rich, I’m gonna die.

I assume your journey will be similar. Only one way to find out.

Cinnamon Swizzle Sticks
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14. Cinnamon Swizzle Sticks


Much like the hot cocoa stick, this is a fun idea but is probably way too much sugar for the average person. It recommends stirring your coffee with this, but yikes. It more likely belongs at a hot chocolate bar, but still, that’s just a ton of sugar. This is like something Buddy the Elf would keep on hand to stir his beverages with. Consume at your own risk.

Salted Caramel Hot Cocoa Stirring Spoon with Mini Marshmallows
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15. Salted Caramel Hot Cocoa Stirring Spoon with Mini Marshmallows


I see this more as a novelty than an actual way to make hot chocolate. There is an insane amount of sugar going on in that spoon, but the 99 cent price tag is nice. This beverage is gonna be sweet as the dickens, so just prepare yourself. In my opinion, you’re better off with some hot cocoa mix.

trader joes Gingerbread Sandwich Cookies
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16. Gingerbread Sandwich Cookies


Here’s another one that looks like it should rip, but it’s actually just OK. I’m not sure what went wrong, because the cookie is nice and soft, the cream is tasty, and the sugary topping provides a nice crunch. But for some reason, it’s kind of a snooze. Stick with the mini gingerbread cookies.

Cinnamon Bun Inspired Truffles
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17. Cinnamon Bun Inspired Truffles


Sometimes you just don’t need to combine things. Chocolate and cinnamon work together just fine, but it’s the gooey nature of the center that makes this all so weird. The caramel filling was probably meant to bridge the gap between the two, but it all just tastes like a bunch of disjointed things. 

I’d eat one if it came on the check presenter at a restaurant, but probably not outside of that highly specific scenario.

Candy Cane Joe-Joe's
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18. Candy Cane Joe-Joe's


These are good, and I am rarely somebody to turn down a candy cane-flavored thing, but I guess I just don’t see why somebody would choose these over standard Oreos. I don’t say this about many Trader Joe’s dupes, but Joe-Joe’s don't compare to the real thing. And that rogue apostrophe drives me nuts.

If the only reason for buying these is “I didn’t want to go to a different store,” then just skip it all together. You don’t like this cookie that much.

Danish Butter Cookies
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19. Danish Butter Cookies


If you’re serving these with tea or following a Christmas breakfast casserole, they’re worth a buy. If you’re just going to eat them as a treat, you’re gonna be let down. Butter cookies are so painfully boring. They’re what you eat when you open your pantry, but can’t find anything better. If I never had one again, I’d probably forget they ever existed.

Minty Flavored Cocoa Truffles
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20. Minty Flavored Cocoa Truffles


Damn, these are rich. One small bite nearly knocked me on my ass. This is for the true chocolate lover, for the person who would happily drown themself in a river of cocoa and never look back. I am not that person, though I admit I could see a place for this on a cheese and charcuterie board.

trader joe's Panettone
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21. Panettone


I want to be clear about this: I hate panettone, or Italian fruit cake, so much. I always have. It’s barely food. I don’t know what people see in it. 

But I’m a professional. I bought that Trader Joe’s panettone (excuse me, Trader Giotto's panettone) anyways, and I ate some. I tried to give it a fair chance. I really did. 

The familiar dough-bomb scent greeted me as I pried it out of the cupcake-like paper it came in. Overly sweet, eggy bread with raisins. Who would choose to consume this food? I’ll say it again: Panettone is bad.

Trader Joes grocery store entrance with sign

Even More Trader Joe's Christmas Treats

There are far more weapons in the Trader Joe's holiday item arsenal than just the ones I found. Here are some more to check for.

  • Dark Chocolate Covered Minty Mallows

  • Sugar Glazed Lebkuchen Cookies

  • Egg Nog Greek Yogurt

  • O’Nog Non-Dairy Oat Beverage

  • Candy Cane Green Tea

  • Sugar Plum Sparkling Beverage

  • Gingerbread Ice Cream

  • Peppermint Hold the Cones

  • Winter Wassail Punch

  • Decked Out Tree Cookies

  • Mini Peppermint Meringues

  • Gingerbread Coffee

  • Chocolate Coins

  • Chocolate Croissant Scented Candle

  • Cinnamon Bun Inspired Pancakes

  • Peppermint Flavored Baking Chips

  • Maple Leaf Cookies

  • Nog Protein Beverage Smoothie

  • Gingerbread House Kit

  • Milk Chocolate Advent Calendar