To make the cookies, cream the butter, sugar, vanilla bean, vanilla extract and almond extract in a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy, about a full 3-5 minutes.
Add the eggs and mix until evenly combined. Add half the flour, baking soda and salt, beating until combined. Add the remaining flour and beat until the dough forms a ball.
Place half the dough on a large piece of plastic wrap and shape into a 10-inch log. Repeat with the remaining dough. Now try and make sure each log is pretty rounded and then wrap in a generous amount of tin foil. This will prevent the dough from forming a straight edge. Place the logs in the fridge for at least one hour or up to three days.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
Remove one roll of dough at a time from the fridge. Unwrap the dough and slice crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick rounds, turning the dough a quarter turn after each slice to help keep the cookies round. Place 1/2 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. If your cookies aren’t as round as you want them to be, shape the dough with your fingers.
Bake 8 minutes for soft cookies. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining roll of dough, if desired.
To make the frosting, in the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl with a hand mixer) beat together the butter and powdered sugar until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla, pinch of salt and caramel, beat until combined Add the heavy cream and beat another 3 minutes or until the frosting is light and fluffy, add more cream to your liking.
Frost the cooled cookies and decorate as desired. To make the shapes of your favorite christmas symbols, find some smaller Christmas cookie cutters and gently place in the center of the cookie. Sprinkle the inside of the cookie cutter with sanding sugar or sprinkles. Shake the cookie a little to help evenly distribute the sanding sugar and then remove the cookie cutter.
Store cookies, covered for up to four days at room temperature.