'Twas the holiday season, when all across the U.S., parents and children alike were busy getting in good deeds – within reason – in time to make Santa's "nice" list. And to give folks a treat for their good behavior, Santa has teamed up with Great American Cookies® – his favorite brand of cookies – to give away a free original chocolate chip cookie to customers who stop by participating stores on National Cookie Day on Friday, December 4.

To further spread cheer, Great American Cookies is also giving away $1,000 in gift cards throughout December to parents who submit their funniest family photos with Santa. To enter the contest, parents can post photos of their not-so-happy campers sitting on Santa's lap using the hashtag #keepsantajolly. Weekly winners will be chosen to receive a $250 Great American Cookies gift card to sweeten up this year's holiday celebrations.

"Great American Cookies knows that the holiday season can be a bit stressful, making it a challenge sometimes for both children and parents to be on their best behavior. For the second year in a row, we've teamed up with Santa to give folks a little encouragement and a sweet treat to kick off the holiday rush," said David Kaiser, vice president, Great American Cookies. "We hope people join us in celebrating the holidays and spreading cheer by stopping by Great American Cookies."

While children can make Santa's nice list by cleaning their rooms, doing their homework or being kind to their siblings, Santa is also reminding parents that there are some key tasks they too can complete to ensure they won't receive coal in their own stockings this year, including:

Have faith that fruitcake is doing its best.
Tell the truth about Santa. He's real.
Be a more patient parent by counting to ten. Thousand.
Re-gift cautiously.
Give your kids the gift of not singing along to Drake.
Stop saying "in-laws" like it's a swear word.
Submit a holiday meltdown photo and #keepsantajolly.
Don't start arguments under the mistletoe.
Restore everyone's faith in the holidays with Great American Cookies' Cookie Cakes.
From holiday-themed Cookie Cakes to dozens of delicious cookies in a variety of flavors, it's no wonder the holidays is one of the biggest times of the year for Great American Cookies. Cookie Cakes are available in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be personalized with an endless combination of designs, colors and unique messages. Customers may place their order online at www.greatamericancookies.com and pick it up at a nearby store location. For ease of shopping, customers may also customize and select a Cookie Cake in the days leading up to holidays, or on the actual holiday. Great American Cookies always makes sure there are enough Cookie Cakes to go around and they can be ready in minutes.

For more information about Great American Cookies and store locations, visit www.greatamericancookies.com, follow Great American Cookies' national Twitter handle, @Gr8AmCookies, or become a fan of the brand on Facebook at www.facebook.com/greatamericancookies.