Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a large baking pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add egg, vanilla extract; beat until well combined.
Meanwhile, sift together flour and salt together in a medium bowl, . With the mixer on low speed, add flour mixture until it just comes together. Do not overmix.
Divide the cookie dough in half. Place one ball of dough on a lightly floured surface; it is best to work on a large piece of parchment paper or a silicone baking mat so that the cut out shapes are easy to move. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to desired thickness -- I like to make my cut-outs about ¼ inch thick.
Use desired cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Using a spatula, carefully lift the cookie shapes onto the prepared baking pan.
Bake the cookies for 9 to 11 minutes, or until the cookies are just set and the bottom edges are lightly golden.
Remove the pan from the oven and allow the cookies to cool while still on the pan, about 5-7 minutes. They will come out of the oven soft, but will harden and become easier to move and handle as they cool.
Once easy to handle, place the cookies on a cooling rack to cool completely before decorating.