How To: Package and Ship Christmas Cookies So They Don't Break (Get Baking!)

There's nothing worse than receiving a box of broken and crushed Christmas cookies. I love getting cookies in the mail during the holidays, but it is such a downer when you open the box only to find legless and armless gingerbread men, or chocolate chip cookie crumbs.

Often, the biggest mistakes made are loosely placing the cookies in plastic bags, not providing enough (or any) cushion in the empty spaces of the box and simply not placing the presents in a supportive container within the box.

So you don't make those mistakes this year, here are some tips and tricks to making sure your care package arrives in great shape, as well as a few recommendations about the types of cookies you should bake.

What type of cookies?

The size and shape of each kind matters when it comes time to assemble the package and choose what type of box you will use.

Round cookies can be easily stacked in coffee filters. Each paper filter hold several cookies, and makes for a nice presentation.

For brownies, bars and rectangular-shaped cookies, use mini-loaf baking cups. Stack the cookies and bars just as you would with the coffee filters. If you want to use these cups for the round cookies as well, just turn the cookies on their side and stack them horizontally instead of vertically.

If you're a bit more creative, take an empty Pringles can, wrap it with festive paper and fill it with round cookies. Each cookie will have to be uniform in size and will have to fit in the can, so precision is key.

Another option is to place the cookies in a clear cellophane sleeve, then tie with a red, green or holiday-themed ribbon. Make sure the cookies are tightly packed in the sleeve, though; if they have room to move, they will be more likely to break.

What type of box?

Sturdy boxes, such as ones for cakes and other treats, can be found at Walmart, The Container Store or Hobby Lobby. Make sure the sides of the box are firm and strong so everything inside stays put when it's traveling across the country.

You can also use a tin box, which obviously provides much better support than a paper box. Choose ones that are decorated for the season.

Add some cushion

Line the box (whichever one you choose) with tissue paper to not only decorate the interior, but to provide more cushioning for the cookies. If there is a lot of space, crinkle the paper and stuff it on the sides to add padding.

When assembling the box, place the coffee filters and/or paper cups in a snug single layer. If you have enough room on top of those cookies for another layer, place a piece of tissue paper on top, followed by the layer of cookies in paper cups and coffee filters. Finally, place crinkled tissue paper on top of the last layer of cookies to ensure they don't move around inside the box after you place the lid on top.

To increase the odds that the cookies make it to their destination safe and sound, place the cookie container in a cardboard box. You don't want all of your hard work to go to waste by not providing more protection, do you?

Head to the next page for a list of cookies and bars perfect for shipping to loved ones...

My favorite combination of Christmas cookies includes a variety of shapes, sizes and flavors. I always have chocolate chip cookies and classic sugar cookie cut-outs, usually in snowflake shapes, because they are so pretty. I also include angel slices and pecan sandies for those who don't enjoy chocolate and want something with coconut or nuts. Finally, for those who appreciate cookie bars or brownies, I always include brownie bites, seven-layer bars and blondies. Sometimes I'll throw in spritz butter cookies if I am feeling overzealous in the kitchen.

Here are some other cookies and bars to add to your Christmas cookie package.

Christmas Cookies:

  • Icebox cookies
  • Shortbread
  • Oatmeal raisin cookies
  • Peanut butter cookies
  • Biscotti
  • Gingerbread men
  • Thumbprints
  • Rum balls
  • Coconut balls

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