Shipping Holiday Goodies

During my freshman year in college (1984), I came home for Thanksgiving and
gratefully enjoyed all our traditional family fare, including my mother's
fantastic apple and pumpkin pies. When it was time to leave, Mom put togethera plate with pie leftovers, covered it in tin foil, and set it out for me to take back to the dorm. In a hurry, I left without it and remembered when Dad and I were about 90 minutes away from home. Oh well, I thought, no leftover pie for my roommate and me. Undaunted, my mother carefully boxed it up and took it to the nearest post office and asked if she could ship it to me.

"You want to ship a pie?" the incredulous postal worker asked.

My mother had memories of the three layer coconut cake my grandmother once shipped to her that had arrived with every single flake of coconut in place, and she thought the pie would travel fine if she wrote "This Side Up" on the box. The doubtful postal worker informed her it may not even make it out of that post office if anyone knew there was a pie in the box. Nevertheless, the pie shipped and the box appeared intact when I received it a few days later. The pie, however, didn't look much like pie when I peeked into the box. It had all mushed as if the box had traveled on it's side, but it still tasted pretty good. Yes, my roommate and I ate it.

I've never forgotten about that and the story has become a family legend
that's retold every year. Fortunately it is easy to ship some homemade or store bought goodies such as cookies, candies, and even some cakes if they are properly wrapped.

The folks at Fed Ex kindly shared some packing tips for ensuring your homemade holiday goodies reach their destination intact.

  • Place the goods in a food safe container before packing it in a shipping
    box.
  • Use wax paper between layers and crumple some extra wax paper to stuff
    around the edges, which helps keep goods from shifting.
  • Tape down the lid of your inner container to keep it from popping off.
  • Use plenty of newspaper or grocery bags in the box to cushion the container. If you shake the box and hear movement, it needs more packing material.

No matter which shipping company you prefer, shipping early is the best and most cost effective method for timely arrival, but if you ship in the next few days and want gifts to arrive on time you can always pay extra shipping fees using a two-day or overnight delivery service. None of the major shipping companies operate on December 25, so the last day to ship for Christmas delivery is December 23. If you want delivery in time for the start of Hanukkah, you'll need to ship by the 19th.

From our family to yours, peace, happy holidays, and safe travels.

Andrea writes the cooking blog Andrea's Recipes and the reviews blog Andrea's Reviews. She's never tried to ship a pie or cake, though she has shipped cookies and candy.

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