You’ve picked recipes, shopped, and baked your little heart out. Now comes the most important part…sending off your goodies! If you don’t ever mail them out, no one will get to enjoy the deliciousness you worked so hard to create.
When you’re shipping cookies or other edible treats, there are a few simple (but super important!) things to keep in mind: air-tight/secure packaging and sending the treats as quickly as possible. Here’s how I do it without losing my mind:
First things first…get addresses! This could be as easy as calling someone up and asking where they live, but if you’re trying to be sneaky and surprise your recipients, it may require a little detective work on your part. I had to track down a couple addresses this year since I was adding new recipients to my list.
Figure out how you want to package your treats. This is always the hardest for me, because I want something cute that can still stand up to the long trips that some of my packages need to take (my friends and family are scattered, so I’ve sent packages as far as California and Connecticut—not a short trip from Indiana!). My first stop was The Container Store, where I was greeted by walls and walls of red and green options.
They have everything from bags to boxes to tins. As I was looking around, however, I realized that the number of packages I was sending out was going to add up to a ton of money just on containers to put the goodies in. Everything was so cute, but I couldn’t stomach spending upwards of $50 before I’d even sent a single package. If you’re sending one or two packages, or delivering items locally and don’t have shipping costs to think about, The Container Store may be a good bet for you.
My next stop was Target, where I first found some holiday-themed Chinese food containers. I’ve used this type of packaging in the past with great success, but I realized that they weren’t quite big enough to fit all the things I was sending in each box, and packaging two of them together wasn’t going to work. On to the next…
My final solution (which turned out amazingly, I think) was to simply package each type of treat in a cellophane bag and seal it with a label telling the recipient what it was. I knew going in that I wanted to label each goodie, so this seemed like the perfect solution. I picked up a package of shipping labels and created a template on my computer. I’m definitely not a graphic designer, but using a couple of cute fonts was all I needed to jazz up my labels and make the treats more visually appealing.
Make sure all your packaging is food-safe. While there is so much adorable tissue paper or gift wrap available this time of year, now probably isn’t the time to use it. Unless it specifically says it can be used for food, don’t do it. The dyes and prints used to make those cutesy designs may end up putting some nasty flavors into your cookies. The cellophane baggies I found at Target were perfect for this, and I could dress them up however I wanted.
Once your treats are packaged, it’s time to box them up! The post office has free Priority Mail boxes, which is what I always use to send any type of package. The rates are fairly cheap and the shipping is 2-3 days, which is perfect for edible treats. It’s always a balancing act to find a way to ship items that doesn’t break the bank, but still gets the treats there in time for them to still be fresh. That’s why it’s always super important to seal your treats in an air-tight packaging before putting them in the larger box—the less air that gets to them, the better.
Pack your boxes tightly. I usually ship my treats surrounded by newsprint, wax paper, or tissue paper. I’ve always got a newspaper sitting around, and it is cheaper than packing peanuts, so that’s usually my go-to method. Make sure that you stuff packing material tightly around your goodie bags; any movement in the box during shipment can mean broken cookies, which is no fun. I find that a layer of crumpled newspaper on the bottom of the box, pieces packed between each bag, and a final layer on top of everything to really stuff the box full is the perfect way for cookies to arrive in one piece.
Now you just need to brave the lines at the post office, and before you know it, your loved ones will be enjoying a homemade treat, made just for them!
See previous posts here and here.
Jessica Lampe is a foodie, photographer, writer and DIY’er extraordinare from Indianapolis, Indiana, where she lives with her boyfriend and their incessantly adorable German Shepherd. When she isn’t serving up cupcakes to friends and strangers (baked goods don’t discriminate) she loves getting caught up in a good book and playing/coaching volleyball. Jessica has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and English from Bradley University, is obsessed with all things Harry Potter and lives and dies by the St. Louis Cardinals. Find her on Twitter @lampeshade12.