What do candy corn and mistletoe have in common?

Absolutely nothing. But for the second consecutive year, I find myself imploring all of you, dear readers, to start switching gears from buckets of Halloween candy to festive Christmas cookies before we’re even out of October.

But really, is there any time that we’re not thinking about cookies?

The Richmond Times-Dispatch’s annual Holiday Cookie Contest opens today, Wednesday. Through Sunday, Nov. 10, send me your best holiday cookie recipes, the ones that friends and family salivate for this time each year.

A grand-prize winner and two runners-up will be selected by you, the readers, from 10 finalists chosen by The Times-Dispatch. The grand-prize winner receives a $250 gift card and an RTD goodie bag; the second-place winner earns a $100 gift card and goodie bag; and the third-place winner gets a goodie bag.

Collegiate School student Charlotte Smith and her mother, Beth Vetrovec, were last year’s winners with their Christmas Cookie Surprise Boxes, sugar cookies stacked and held together by buttercream “glue,” then filled with red and green mini M&Ms.

If you have a winning recipe (or two or three) that you can’t wait to share, now is your chance.

Here’s how to enter:

Go to Richmond.com/Cookie-Contest to submit your original recipes. If entering more than one, they must be submitted separately. Or, you can mail your hard-copy recipes to me, Holly Prestidge, at 300 E. Franklin St., Richmond, VA 23219. Please include your name, address, phone number and email address. Entrants must be 18 or older.

The entry deadline for online submissions and mailed entries is 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10. The Times-Dispatch will choose 10 cookie finalists to be in the running for the grand prize; they will be featured in the Food section Nov. 27. Then, from Nov. 27 to Dec. 8, readers can visit Richmond.com/Cookie-Contest again to vote for the grand-prize winner. The winning baker and recipe will be featured in the Food section Dec. 18.

Good luck!

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