United States Post Office: Don't you just love those men and women who rain or shine, sleet, snow or hail do their darndest to deliver our mail? What an amazing group of dedicated workers! We tend to take things for granted here in the good old U. S. of A. and trust me, other countries do not have it as good as we do. Our mail system is OUTSTANDING and I for one am totally fine with postage rates increasing by a few cents every year.
Did you know that the mail never stops once it's in the system? Your local post office might be closed on the weekend and your mail carrier may have Sunday off, but once your package is in the system I have been assured that it is moving. Always moving until it reaches it's final post office to await delivery.
Depending on how you mail your package (Overnight, Flat Rate, Air or Parcel Post or slow boat to China) your package can arrive very quickly or be delayed by sitting in the local post office waiting for the next day that the office is open. For example: If I get my cookies to the post office just prior to the post office closing, my package is going to sit in the office overnight until pickup the next morning. If I get my cookies there just prior to closing AND towards the end of the week, my package is going to sit in a post office on Mason's end until they can deliver it on Monday. Be very careful when you mail too close to Federal holidays. Your package may sit at the other end of it's destination for as many as two to three days if the holiday is on a Monday. So...play your cards right and your cookies will arrive ever so fresh and tasty.
Packaging: I've tried it all. Seriously. I bake, package, mail and then sit patiently (ok, I'm never really very patient but I'm known to occasionally give it a valiant effort) awaiting Mason's email on Monday to see how his package arrived and how they tasted. I've tried Ziploc bags packed carefully in 'ghost poop' (styrofoam packing peanuts) or popcorn = crumbs and "not too fresh tasting either" (he cautiously mentions while trying not to hurt my feelings); plastic toss-away containers (Gladware, etc) = fresh but broken.; and wrapping each cookie separately in Saran wrap and placing them in a smaller box then inside a larger box for mailing = broken and again, not so fresh.
The best way to mail them that I have found thus far: Pringle's potato chip containers. Seriously. Use the regular size cans not the jumbo "see how much I can eat and not get sick" size. Just rinse them and dry them well. If the chips were a rather pungent variety, say maybe Mesquite Barbecue or Sour Cream & Onion, you might want to leave the lid off for a day or so to let it air out. Nothing worse than one of Mom's famous chocolate chip cookies with an onion aftertaste.
I use a small scoop to scoop out the dough onto the cookie sheets for baking which makes the cookies just the right size for the can. Bake the cookies and let them cool completely (so they don't sweat inside the can) then stack inside and seal with the lid. Viola! You can tie a ribbon around the can so that the lid won't pop off in transit but I usually just mail it in a medium sized flat rate box. The width of the box is the exact length of the Pringle's can. No way that puppy is coming off. Another perk about using the Pringle cans? I can decorate and label them! Cute!!
A final word about freshness. It is absolutely essential that your cookies are the freshest they can possibly be. Don't make them the day before and then run to the post office just before closing on the next day. Try very, very hard to bake and send on the same day and as early as you can in the morning. Some larger post offices have more than one pickup during the day. A friend in Utah mailed gloves to her son in New Jersey on her way to work in the morning and he had them the next day. Now that's incredible!
Decorating Your Cookie Canister
spray adhesive or glue
paper cutter or scissors
embellishments, if desired
~ for a photo of this project, see the beginning of this post.