Christmas cookies by the numbers: Guess how many cookies Santa eats on Christmas Eve?

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Christmas and cookies: They go together like — well, like Christmas and cookies (and milk!).

Think about it: What American household doesn't have some form of holiday cookie in the works around this time of year? And never mind all the goodies that bakeries, restaurants, delis, and diners churn out for all of us as well.

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Which brings us to this: Do you know how many Christmas cookies Santa Claus eats on Christmas Eve? It's a fascinating piece of Christmastime data worth, um, digesting.

The number of cookies eaten by Santa on one night every December in America is estimated at 300 million, according to no less an authority than Paul Deen, host of Fox Nation's"At Home with Paula Deen."

Added Deen jokingly about Santa's cookie consumption during one of her recent programs, "That's a lot of cookies, y'all! No wonder he's got a little paunch to him."

Others, by the way, say the number of cookies eaten by Santa on Christmas Eve is even higher than that — more like a belly-busting 336 million cookies.

Christmas cookies have a special way of dressing up any holiday table — though chances are they won't last there very long! (File)

There is no question: We love our Christmas cookies.

And the joy and togetherness that families, friends, and neighbors experience during the planning, preparation, and consumption of these desserts is a delicious part of this festive time of year.

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Here's a deeper dive connected to the treats we enjoy.

Delectable cookie facts: Check out these 7 sweet details

1. The tradition of putting out cookies and milk for Santa came about in the 1930s, during the Depression, one theory goes. Historians believe it was something that parents encouraged their children to do, as part of helping them learn to share with others and extend charity during very hard times.

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2. Residents of each state have their own preference for the cookie billed as "favorite holiday cookie." Residents of some states are loyal to the classic chocolate chip cookie (it's the official cookie of Massachusetts, for example; the cookie was first invented at the Toll House Restaurant in Whitman, Massachusetts, in 1930). Other state residents prefer beautifully decorated sugar cookies, according to Delish.

3. Americans consume an astonishing 2 billion-plus cookies a year — or about 300 cookies for each person per year, according to Cookie Elf.

We definitely relish our Christmas cookies  December.

We definitely relish our Christmas cookies  December. (iStock)

4. A whopping 95% of U.S. households eat cookies, according to the same source.

5. The Oreo was the globe's best-selling cookie of the 20th century. In the US, we spend roughly $550 million each year on Oreos, a cookie that made its national debut in 1912.

6. A survey of 2,000 Christmas-celebrating Americans found the average respondent begins fantasizing about his or her favorite treat three weeks before the first bite, according to SWNS.

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7. Sixty-three percent of people have a traditional dessert that they eat year after year — while 79 percent say their festive holiday spirit would be "deflated" without that delicious bite, according to the same source.

Fox News Digital is showcasing 25 days of Christmas desserts as we count down to Dec. 25. See all of them here.

Maureen Mackey Fox News