There are few things more frustrating than starting to make decorated sugar cookies and not having what you need to finish them. That's why I keep some basics around just in case there's a cookie "emergency."
Sugar sprinkles are a basic. Over the years, my most used colors have been red and green sugar sprinkles, followed by yellow. If you don't have any sprinkles and know what sugar cookie cutters you're going to use, you can better decide what sugar sprinkles to get. I also make sure to keep tiny milk chocolate chips, dark raisins, chopped walnuts and almond slices on hand. These come in handy for eyes, buttons and wings.
If you are short on time, use sugar sprinkles. They're fast, easily add some color variety, and are a holiday favorite.
I also make sugar cookies with sprinkles for special occasions throughout the year with non-holiday cookie cutters. When using sugar sprinkles, add lemon as flavoring to the cookie dough, or divide between vanilla and lemon. Lemon flavoring will make the cookies less sweet and help balance the extra sugar on top.