Dec 14, 2009

Tricks for Mailing Christmas Cookies

One classic Christmas tradition is the making of cookies and other baked treats to give to friends, family, and strangers. But no matter how wonderful your baked goods are, recipients won’t get as much enjoyment from them if they arrived stale and broken.

* Don’t even try to send delicate cookies in the mail. Instead, choose sturdy types like brownies, drop cookies, and bars.

*Package different types of cookies or treats in separate containers. This helps prevent the flavors of different foods from blending together.

* Many cooking stores and catalogs offer “bake and give” products that allow you to quickly bake breads, fruitcake, and similar goods directly in the containers you’ll give them away in. They are attractive enough for hand delivery, but will require an outer container if you want to ship them.

* You can purchase tin containers designed specifically for giving cookies and other Christmas treat away, but for most things, it works just as well to cut a large piece of foil off a roll, lay it on the counter, and place the treats inside it. Then neatly fold the edges over the treats; it’s a good idea to cut the foil so large enough you get two or three layers of foil over the contents. Then crimp the edges to seal to treats securely.

* For a classy touch, purchase gold or silver foil circles or starbursts (available at office supply stores) and print the name of the treat on them using your printer. Use the stickers to seal the outer edge of each foil package.

* If you don’t want to go to the trouble of making your own foil packages, try using disposable Ziplock-style containers. They are airtight, and the recipients can use them over and over again.

* If you’ll be giving away a treat to someone who likes to cook, be sure to include the recipe. A nice way to do this is to print it out on attractive paper (cardstock works best), punch a hole in one corner, and attach it to the packaging with curling ribbon.

* Place recyclable packing peanuts, a couple of layers of bubble wrap, or a thick layer of shredded papers or crumbled newspapers at the bottom of the shipping box. Because items tend to sink toward the bottom during shipping, make the bottom layer thicker than you think it needs to be. To make packing peanuts less of a mess for the recipient, place them in plastic garbage bags and tie the bags tight.

* Place the treat containers inside the box, separating them with more peanuts, bubble wrap, shredded papers, or crumpled newspaper. Place another thick layer of peanuts, bubble wrap, shredded paper, or crumpled paper on top of the treats.

* Print out two shipping labels for your boxes. Stick one inside the box, at the very top. If, for some reason the outer label gets ripped off, there’s still a chance your package will get delivered because you put a second label inside. Seal the boxes securely, then tape the second shipping label on the outside, covering the entire label with tape, so the printing won’t smear if the package gets wet.

* Priority shipping is fast and relatively inexpensive, making it the shipping option of choice for cookies and other Christmas treats.

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