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Cookie Swap Packaging & Shipping Tips

Shipping cookies is not like shipping books or other gifts. Cookies require a bit more care and thought. And seeing as the 1st Annual Food Blogger Cookie Swap (psst! Have YOU signed up yet?!) is turning into something epic, I thought I’d offer a few tips and suggestions for getting your cookies to their final destination in one delicious piece.

Tips for Packaging and Shipping Holiday Cookies

Choose your recipe. Of course, shipping cookies starts with, well, the cookies. Not every cookie is suited to shipping (that means that no matter how good they are, your delicate little tuiles are probably not the best choice). Choose a cookie that is sturdy to begin with and you’re well on your way.

Have cookies will travel. Additionally, depending on how far your cookies have to travel, consider choosing a recipe that tastes just as good 3, 5, or even 7 days later. Cookies may dry out during the journey, which makes things like biscotti or gingerbread perfect candidates. Softer cookies should be packaged in airtight bags or containers to preserve as much moisture as possible. While express shipping is obviously a bit excessive, choosing USPS Priority Mail (over, say, parcel post), will give your recipient a few extra days of freshness.

Tips for Packaging and Shipping Christmas Cookies

Of course, baking your cookies is just the beginning, you still have to find suitable packaging.

Pack it right. Choose a container for your cookies. Again, an airtight container is probably going to be preferable as it will preserve moisture. That’s not to say you can’t put your cookies in an airtight bag first and then inside a cute gift box or tin. Last year, for example, I mailed my holiday cookies in gloss white gift boxes. Inside, the cookies were sealed inside polka dot cello bags, with layers of waxed paper separating the cookies and also crumpled into the empty spaces in the corners.

Pack it tight. Pack your cookies carefully inside your chosen container. Whether that means layering parchment or waxed paper between them so the cookies don’t stick together (if they are frosted, for example), or bagging them individually, or arranging them just right so they don’t shift in transit. Just be sure that whatever materials are touching the cookies are food safe (so that neon green tissue paper is better used to package grandma’s new socks).

Get creative. Gift boxes, cookie tins, treat bags, mason jars, baking pans, mailing tubes… they all will hold cookies. But ultimately what matters is the safety and well-being of your cookies. And whether that means a plain old plastic container or an elaborate decorated gift box, as long as the cookies arrive in one piece, you’ve succeeded. That’s what’s really important.

Box it up. Choose a sturdy corrugated shipping box that allows for 2 to 3 inches of padding on all sides. This will give your cookies another layer of protection. My white boxes were just the right size to fit inside a 7x7x7 Priority Mail box padded with a double layer of bubble wrap (bubbles on the outside, always!). Packing peanuts, crumpled newspaper, even (unbuttered) airpopped popcorn are all suitable padding materials.

The USPS offers free shipping boxes for Priority Mail. Consider the 7×7 cube box, shoe box, or medium flat rate box. For heavier cookies going across country, the flat rate box may be the most efficient solution as you could fill it with 2lbs of cookies or 30lbs of lead and it’d still cost the same to send. Depending on where your recipients are located you may want to price the cost beforehand, the flat rate box isn’t always cheaper, especially if the recipient is in your general region. You can calculate shipping costs and even print labels online directly from the USPS website.

It may be worth pricing UPS/Fedex as well. For heavier boxes it may be cheaper than the USPS. Though do pay attention to transit times as Ground shipments can often take 5 days to get there, compared to the average 2-3 days for USPS Priority Mail. Do note that PO boxes and APO address will not accept UPS/Fedex and will need to be shipped USPS.

Christmas Cookie Packaging Ideas

Supply Resources & Ideas:

Share Your Tips & Ideas!

For those of you out there who have shipped cookies before, what tips can you offer? What creative packing solutions have you come across? Please share!

If you haven’t already, be sure to sign up for the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap! We’re accepting signups through November 15th, and we’ve already got 450 food bloggers on board. That’s a heck of a lot of cookies! Check out the original post for more details

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33 CommentsLeave a Comment →

  1. 1
    Posted On November 4, 2011 at 9:24 am

    Great ideas!

    Reply

  2. 2
    Posted On November 4, 2011 at 9:28 am

    Wonderful tips! I am getting so excited for this exchange! Thanks to you and to Julie for hosting it!

    Reply

  3. 3
    Posted On November 4, 2011 at 9:30 am

    Such great ideas, thanks for sharing!

    Reply

  4. 4
    Posted On November 4, 2011 at 9:47 am

    What a great idea to have a huge cookie exchange for bloggers! I just signed up and so excited. Love your ideas in the post! Have a wonderful weekend.

    Reply

  5. 5
    Posted On November 4, 2011 at 9:56 am

    Love these shipping and packaging tips! I was just thinking yesterday “how the heck am I going to ship my cookies and keep them tasty and not in crumbles?”

    Thanks for hosting these cookie swap! I’m so excited about it!

    Reply

  6. 6
    Posted On November 4, 2011 at 9:59 am

    I love these ideas. One thing I did want to add, when I bake cookies, I tend to make them on the huge side (I prefer using my favorite ice cream scoop – it’s 60 years old and never breaks like cheap cookie scoops) – the side effect of this is that most Wilton or other branded “treat bags” don’t fit my cookies. They’re too wide.

    Instead, I use the cheap flip top (not zip top) sandwich bags from the grocery store. They work perfectly, and become air tight when tied off with curling ribbon. And they’re a darn sight cheaper than the specially branded treat bags.

    Reply

  7. 7
    Posted On November 4, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Thanks for the tips!! I was wondering too if we’re limited to true cookies, or if bars/chocolate bark etc. qualify? Can’t wait either way!

    Reply

    • Posted On November 4, 2011 at 11:07 pm

      Hi Anna –
      I’d say yes to bar cookies (they are, a cookie still, right?) but no to the bark, it’s getting a bit too candy-like and this is definitely a cookie swap. :)

  8. 8
    Posted On November 4, 2011 at 10:34 am

    Great ideas and important tips! This being my first cookie swap EVER, I needed some guidance :)

    Reply

  9. 9
    Posted On November 4, 2011 at 10:37 am

    Great info for the upcoming baking season. Love your blog. XOXO

    Reply

  10. 10
    Posted On November 4, 2011 at 10:38 am

    These are great tips – I can’t wait for the swap! I really like to use the Glad Press & Seal wrap when shipping gifts or just storing items at home in the freezer. It really seems to keep out air and keep things fresh.

    Reply

  11. 11
    Posted On November 4, 2011 at 11:21 am

    Great article! Didn’t even think of sturdy cookie, great idea! I am looking forward to the swap! Time to practive cookie making!

    Reply

  12. 12
    Posted On November 4, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    This is great Lindsay! I had planned on doing some research for cute things to ship my exchange cookies, as well as cookies to my family! You rock! :-D

    Reply

  13. 13
    Posted On November 4, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    Thanks for all the great tips!

    Reply

  14. 14
    Posted On November 4, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    I agree with Jess, you do rock! It’s going to be epic. :D

    Reply

  15. 15
    Posted On November 4, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    When I mail cookies, I always put two, backs together, and wrap them up in plastic wrap. Then I freeze them overnight and mail them quickly. I think that has helped keep them fresh, and they are thawed by the time they reach the destination.

    Reply

    • Posted On November 4, 2011 at 11:05 pm

      Great idea! Using the cookies to support themselves. :) The freezing tip is a good one as well. Thanks!!

  16. 16
    Posted On November 4, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    Glad I get to be a part of the 1st annual anything!! Thanks for the tips!

    Reply

  17. 17
    Posted On November 4, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    This is a great and helpful post. I ship cookies etc. a lot because I have college aged daughters. I really like the flat rate boxes, they get to their destination faster than advertised most of the time. I think it’s such a nice tradition to send homemade baked goods at the holidays, but it’s definitely a challenge to get them there fresh and in one piece!

    Reply

  18. 18
    Posted On November 5, 2011 at 7:07 am

    I’m so excited to be part of this event. Even though I’m not technically a food blogger as my blog is based on the renovation of our home and building a new life in a new town, I do post recipes on a regular basis. This will be a great opportunity to share some ideas with others.
    Now to get out my recipe files and start planning!! I love a challenge.

    Reply

  19. 19
    Posted On November 6, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    thanks for the tips!! i was just thinking i have NO clue how to ship baked goods. i am super excited to get going with this… such a great idea and thank you for your time and effort in organizing :)

    Reply

  20. 20
    Posted On November 7, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    can’t wait to be a part of this exchange. I am going to take all of these tips into consideration as a package up my awesome cookies. I always freeze cookies prior to shipment…

    Reply

  21. 21
    Posted On November 18, 2011 at 6:27 am

    Beautiful blog and such wonderful recipes. Loved browsing through a lot of your entries. But I particularly enjoyed this entry with all the packaging tips. It is so useful. I had a disaster trying to take ill-packaged stuff to my home country for my family.I cannot even blame the shipping company because, I was the one carrying it to it’s destination.

    Reply

  22. 22
    Posted On November 18, 2011 at 7:57 am

    Hi Lindsay :) do you mind sharing where you got your printed sticker labels? I’d love to stick on my holiday cookies “I made this just for you!” or something along those lines with a nice script font for my name below but I can’t find where you can personalize labels like that. I’ve tried tinyprints.com and minted.com with no luck. Thanks :)

    Reply

    • Posted On November 18, 2011 at 11:35 pm

      Actually printed these myself! If you get some plain old label paper and run it through any mediocre color printer, it works pretty darn well! :)

  23. 23
    Posted On November 21, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    Great tips! I can’t wait for the cookie swap (:

    Reply

  24. 24
    Posted On November 25, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    Can not wait! Thanks for the tips!

    Reply

  25. 25
    Posted On November 28, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Awesome tips, glad you posted this! I was getting worried of whether my cookies would make it in one piece or not, but I am pretty confident they will now :) Yay excited for the swap!

    Reply

  26. 26
    Posted On November 29, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Awesome tips Lindsay. I was very concerned about this part of the whole swap thing. ;)

    Reply

  27. 27
    Posted On November 29, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Bummer! Wish I had paid attention to this tip in your previous e-mails. Oh, well. My first cookie mailing since the 1960’s to my brother in Vietnam. My cookies are baked and in wax paper and in a cookie tin. Being shipped in a “Flat Rate Box”.

    I’ll keep this for next year.

    Reply

  28. 28
    Posted On November 29, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Would it be too much of a logistical problem to ask people to post a response on the delivery conditions of their packages when they receive. I think it would be useful information for next year.

    Reply

  29. 29
    Posted On November 29, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    So helpful ! Thanks for sharing tips and ideas! Great to know there are good sources for packaging! Happy Holidays!

    Reply

  30. 30
    Posted On November 19, 2013 at 2:58 am

    These tips are just amazing. Indeed, cookies need some extra care when it comes to shipping. We once had this school program where we decided to bake some cookies for this orphanage across the state. So, we had to ship these in boxes. The cookies certainly reached their destination but unfortunately, they were not in perfect shape. Anyway, thank you for sharing this post.

    Reply

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