Hundred-Year-Old Directions on How to Mail Christmas Cookies

Caption: Pack the cookies in a tin box lined with paraffin paper. Put the cookies in as snugly as possible with crumpled bits of paraffin paper to fill up every nook and corner and every crevice between the uneven cakes. (Source: Good Housekeeping, December, 1917)

Are you thinking about sending cookies to family members or friends this holiday season? If so, you might find this hundred-year-old advice on mailing cookies helpful.

Caption: Lay a piece of thin cardboard between each layer of cakes, and in addition put crosswise pieces of the same cardboard between the rows of cakes. In the way fine candies are packed. Over the top put a thick layer of shredded tissue paper such as is used to pack china.

Caption: Wrap the box first in corrugated pasteboard; wrap in both directions thoroughly so as to save the contents every jolt. Over this wrap heavy paper. Put “Christmas Mail” conspicuously on address side.

28 thoughts on “Hundred-Year-Old Directions on How to Mail Christmas Cookies

    1. I wonder if pre-made boxes weren’t readily available a hundred years ago. People used to save and reuse things so much more than what they do now. I can remember that when I was a child, my family had a closet full of used cardboard boxes just waiting to be repurposed.

  1. Can you imagine having to make your own boxes! And hooray for bubblewrap. A couple of layers on the bottom and top of a box help a lot. My other tip for shipping cookies? Small ships better than large, and large beats large and crisp. Also, putting them in a metal Christmas container and then in the box helps a lot, unless the p.o. runs them through the mega-crusher they keep just for holiday packages. 🙂

    1. Thanks for the tips. When my kids were in college I used to occasionally send them cookies – with mixed success. Some recipes just seemed to result in cookies that shipped better than others.

      1. When I did this post I only included the captioned pictures. Your comment sent me back to the article in Good Housekeeping. Here’s a couple sentences that support what you were thinking:

        ” ‘Member how he used to crunch the cookies when he was a little boy; ‘member how he looked with his face all crummy with cake? Well, men are only grown-up boys, they say –and solders are often not even grown up; so send him cookies for Christmas.”

  2. This advice stays fresh and helpful no matter how many years has passed. Thanks for posting it. It’s a perfect time of year for mailing tasty goodies.

  3. I wonder why one needed to write Christmas mail in the package, if it was received any time around Christmas, wouldn’t it have been received as such? Also,is this still a practiced method of shipping cookies/cakes? (I am serious in my question), as I was just yesterday, thinking of sending my mom some cookies for her birthday.

    1. I think that the basics are the same – though I’d definitely use a box that didn’t need to be wrapped in paper. Paper wrapping tends to get torn off by modern sorting machines. Maybe they wrote “Christmas Mail” to encourage the post office to deliver the package more quickly so that it would arrive before the holidays.

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