Food & Drink

The Best Things to Buy at Trader Joe's This Holiday Season

Published On 12/22/2016 Published On 12/22/2016
Cole Saladino/Thrillist

When fall comes to an end, two things seem to happen: The weather gets colder and everyone throws all their pumpkin-spiced food in the garbage and finally returns to eating things with other flavors. You can see this change clearly happening on the shelves of Trader Joe's, where a slew of new, delicious, winter-themed snacks and drinks (below) have stormed the shelves. You'll find things like cookies in the shape of ugly sweaters and enormous chocolate bars -- perfect for eating at holiday parties or on the couch when you’'e too lazy to answer the door for the pizza delivery man.

Ugly Sweater Cookie Kit

If you thought ugly sweaters were just for wearing, boy were you wrong! Turns out, you can eat them too-- just not the ones in your grandma's closet. TJ's now sells a kit that comes with pre-made vanilla and chocolate cookies, icing, and sprinkles. All you have to do is assemble them into the ugliest of edible sweaters and eat.

Sponge candy

Did you know that Buffalo, New York is the sponge candy capital of the world? If you've never had this type of candy before, it melts in your mouth! Like an M&M, but made in Buffalo, New York! And instead of chocolate in the center, it's honeycombed sugar, which makes it way more exciting.

Cinnamon roll wreath

Wreaths are pretty useless. Festive, but useless. You can't wear them or watch a show on them, and you most definitely can't eat them (unless you like to consume pine and ornaments, but that is a whole different conversation). But Trader Joe's is changing that last part with its latest cinnamon roll innovation. The flaky cinnamon-sugar-packed rolls are arranged in a wreath shape in a box, waiting to be baked off into a breakfast that looks better on your kitchen table than your front door -- though it would probably look pretty good on your door, too.

Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Chocolate Commendation Bar

Why the hell is TJ's selling a 4lb, 6oz chocolate bar? Because it's the holidays, and damn if this isn't a great gift for a chocolate lover. One version, made from 61% cacao, is perfect for people who pretend to want dark chocolate but secretly love milk chocolate. The other one, which is 31% cacao, is for unabashed lovers of milk chocolate. Plus, both are actually made by a Belgian chocolatier, so it is not only a large gift, but also a fancy one.

Pumpkin Cranberry Crisps

While most pumpkin-themed products are being pulled from TJ's shelves as quickly as $1 TVs from Walmart shelves on Black Friday, Trader Joe's just rolled out this winterized pumpkin product. Perfect for your next holiday party, these crispy crackers would work great paired with goat cheese or a creamy dip.

Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Joe Joe's

Sadly, this isn't a product endorsed by a former Bachelorette contestant (those would obviously be Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Jojos), but don't let that stop you from eating this candy cane-topped chocolate peppermint wafer. After all, it has a delicious and refreshing peppermint center. Eat it while watching the new season of The Bachelor in January 2017! Not that we're excited or anything!

Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Chili Chocolate Collection

This assortment of spicy chocolates is the perfect gift to keep on hand for when you don't quite know what to get someone. From a milder guajillo milk chocolate to a spicy habanero milk chocolate, this collection is a crowd-pleaser no matter their heat tolerance. It also looks much fancier than a bottle of Cholula (come on, step your game up).

It's Sedimentary, My Dear Cookie

You know how The New Yorker has a caption contest for its cartoons? TJ's asked its shoppers to name this "cookie-mix-in-a-Mason-jar" product that has sugar, peanut butter chips, graham cracker crumbs, and more. It's elementary that Sedimentary, My Dear Cookie won, my dear Thrillist readers.

Nutty Seedy Fruity Bar

If you've ever strolled your shopping cart down TJ's aisles, you know that there are probably enough bars there to feed every preschooler in a 50-mile radius. This is its newest bar, which has a mix of Brazil nuts, walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, and date paste. Lives up to the name, doesn't it?

Cole Saladino/Thrillist

A Joyful Trek Mix

TJ's has enough trail mix to feed everyone who will ever walk in a national park in 2017. But TJ's also loves seasonal foods, so it's no surprise that the chain has come up with a mix that is perfect for fueling you through the 32 holiday parties you have to go to this year. It includes Greek yogurt chips, red- and green-colored chocolate buttons, a nutty mix of almonds and pistachios, and dried cranberries.

Cold-brew coffee

So this is technically not a holiday food, but you need something to keep you awake so you can maximize snack hours. TJ's has many cold-brew options, but this single-serving version is the first one specifically designed for the coffee addict on the go. Does it seem a little strange that it's debuting a new coffee when it's colder outside? Not to us -- cold-brew coffee is a year-round essential.

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Lee Breslouer is a senior writer for Thrillist, and wishes you a happy holidays. Follow him to Christmas cookies @LeeBreslouer.

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