Care Packages-what to send and how to pack them

It’s the time of year when we send care packages to loved ones. This care package went all the way to Afghanistan. To my son-in-law. Since I’d never shipped overseas before and according to the post office it would take 5-10 days for it to arrive, I had to choose items I knew could stand the elements and had a long enough shelf life.

I’m pleased to say everything was received in good condition, still fresh, and enjoyed by many. I want to share with you what I sent and how I packed it.

First off, get a flat rate box from the post office. The boxes are free and you will save some serious money on your shipping charges. Using the largest flat rate box, I paid about $14.00 to ship this package, if I had used my own box the charges would have been about $32.00.


Now for your goodies, wrap them, double wrap then triple wrap. Plastic wrap and clear bags. Make sure if the postal service decides to inspect your package, they can see everything. And label everything. Both for the USPS and the recipient, don’t make them guess what something is.

If you’ve got something small, like this friendship bracelet my youngest wanted to send, make sure it doesn’t get lost, put it in a clear bag with a note.

You don’t want it getting tossed with the packaging.

If you’re including store bought items, like these from Hickory Farms, remove them from the gift box. This was from a sampler package and the box and stuffing they came in would have taken 4 times the space in my box.

The crackers ended up not going after placing everything else in the box. Not enough room.

You want line your box with bubble wrap then place everything in the box. Make sure it all fits snugly. so when the box gets tossed around, you don’t end up with broken cookies. At this point, take your package to the post office, still open. Depending on where you’re shipping to, you may have to deal with customs (like I did) and you don’t want to have to reopen a well taped box.

You’ll have air pockets in your box that you’ll want to fill, don’t use packing peanuts or shredded paper. Use candy! Hard candy. It’s perfect for the job. Individually wrapped, with a little air in each piece, will fit down into those nooks and crannies. After you know everything is good to ship, just fill the box with as much  candy as you can.

Place a note or card on top (but not centered, you don’t want it cut when the box is opened)

Let the postal clerk tape up the box for you. I have to give high praise to the clerk who helped me. She was warm and friendly, informative and helpful. She loved helping me add in the candy and she made sure there was no way the box would pop open during shipping.

It took 8 days for my package to arrive. Everything was in good condition and everything was as fresh as something made 8 days before could be.

Here’s what I shipped and how it was packed.

Swedish Christmas Cookies - All cut the same shape with no points that would break off, Stacked, then wrapped tightly in plastic wrap before double bagging.

Peanut Brittle – this was a bit tricky to package. I lined a container with plastic wrap, then placed a layer of brittle. Between each layer of brittle I place a sheet of waxed paper. once I had enough layers, I sealed up the plastic wrap before removing from my container, as tightly as possible. The wax paper kept the brittle from sticking together. and also provided a bit of cushioning. I then double bagged the brittle in plastic bags.

Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies- I changed up my recipe just a bit. I added an extra 1/4 cup of flour to make the cookies a little sturdier for the trip. They still had the same great flavor, just a little thicker. I made sure to stack the cookies in the bag, then closed the bag as tightly as possible so the stacks wouldn’t shift. Double bagged.

Fried Pecans – I used the basic recipe for these, not candied (I figured there was enough sweet in the box already.) I placed a folded paper towel at the bottom of the bag to absorb any moisture. I then triple bagged. I was also going to include a can of salted peanuts but worried about the metal on the can and that the container wasn’t see through. I didn’t want anything to cause customs to destroy this package and delay the delivery.

Hot Chocolate Mix – This was easy. I placed the mix in a ziploc bag, then I double bagged with the directions and a plastic spoon. I also included an extra container of the Mallow bits, because, well, you can never have too many marshmallows.

Cinnamon Biscotti – Biscotti is a great traveler. Sturdy, good shelf life. I placed the biscotti in the bag, fitting as tightly as I could, then just triple bagged.

Fudge – Fudge actually travels well. In cases where you can’t ship chocolate (due to heat conditions) Fudge is the perfect substitution. Make sure the recipe you choose has no dairy products. This Milk Chocolate Fudge  was perfect. I placed my fudge on a sheet of plastic wrap with no room between pieces. Then I tightly wrapped my plastic wrap and double bagged. As an after thought I could have placed a larger block of the fudge and included a plastic knife. Either way.

And don’t forget a little ribbon. It just makes it more fun to dig into all the goodies you worked so hard on. I baked everything on a Sunday and mailed the package off on Monday morning. Always try to mail on a Monday so you have those first 5 business days to get it where it needs to go. I also went to the larger post office in Macon. I knew if I went to my local post office I would be adding one, possibly, two extra days to the time.

I’m getting ready to send another package off tomorrow, packed with different goodies. I’ll let you know how those survive.

I’m sharing at some of these great parties.

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Comments

  1. This is such an informative post Joan,you are such a sweetheart to share with us and your son-in-law, best wishes to you both ;-)

  2. This is sooo nice! I’m 99% sure that any NYC post office would be PO’d if I came in with an open box, though, hahaaaa :P

  3. Thanks for sharing all your tips, Joan! (I didn’t realize that adding extra flour to cookies would make them hold up longer!) Beautiful, thoughtful, care package. :)

  4. awwww, what a sweet package! I love that you not only included what to package, but how to package! Thanks Joan.

  5. Such a great post, Joan! Wonderful tips, thanks for sharing!

  6. Great tips, Joan! Anyone who receives a package from you in receiving one very special gift!

  7. That is an awesome box of goodies! I love the idea of packing hard candy around everything!!!!

  8. Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel says:

    So helpful, Joan!! I love it and am bookmarking the post for next week when I do my cookie baking for my coworkers! And when I snack on every single one of those candied pecans :)

  9. Thank you for the awesome tips Joan! What a great thing you did. :)

  10. Thanks for sharing tips on your packaging and the box info. I just shipped something to Germany and I think I got a better deal because I used a flat rate box that I saved from a package to me. Looks like lots of great things you made and I’m sure they will be cherished and gobbled up too :)

  11. Great ideas – thanks. I’m getting ready to send a second box to a friend in Afghanistan. Her box was received 5 days after I mailed it – unbelievable! I’m sure you made your sil one happy camper.

  12. Thank you for letting everyone know how to pack a ‘care’ package to anyone overseas. I worked for a shipping company, and the problems I had when families of the crew sent packages. We had ships travelling to ports all over the world. And your very sound advice will hopefully help alot. Besides the food items you sent were perfect, anyone away from would love a package like that. Thanks, again..

  13. Great tips, Joan, and what a wonderful and fun care package. I can only imagine how much it was appreciated!!

  14. Fabulous tips! I’m planning to send food gifts to everyone this year so these will be extremely helpful!

  15. Wow! Great care packages…and great pics. I’d love to have you link this us to Titus 2 Tuesday this week on Cornerstone Confessions.. I hope to see you there.

    Kathy

  16. This is wonderful and so informative! Thanks so much for sharing at Mix it up Monday :)

  17. Oh This is a great care package and I am sure your Son in Law will be so happy when he receives it! My husband did 5 tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. We are very grateful; for your Son in Law’s Service. I know how hard this can be on your Daughter. Thank you for linking up to Show Me Your Plaid Monday’s!

  18. Chocolate always!

  19. Everything looks delicious!! I am sure this will make their holiday swet:-)

  20. I bet he loved getting all your homemade goodies! Thanks for all the great tips! I’m sending off some packages this week and they will come in handy.

  21. What a great post – so informative and perfect for this time of year!!!!

  22. Great tips, Joan. It’s a nice idea to share extra flour to the cookies (I didn’t know that)…thanks for sharing this important information for those of that are sending cookies in the mail:)

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  24. What great tips! Perfect for this time of year, and to remember the rest of the year when we send stuff!

  25. Great tips!

  26. Great post and tips Joan!

  27. LOVE the care packages, AND you included SO many wonderful goodies!! I am always nervous that things will get crushed or arrive stale. Now I don’t have to worry anymore. Thank for sharing these at Wicked Good Wednesdays, Joan!!

  28. Your son-in-law is going to go crazy when he receives this package! Everything looks amazing and I love all your tips! Thank you so much for sharing at Mom On Timeout!

  29. I must’ve missed this! Very informative and good idea with the plastic wrap. I use boxes with little windows, so if there ever was a problem (not that I’m going through customs), they could peek through I guess. And love the candy idea instead of packing peanuts!

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