Ways to Do a Cookie Exchange this Year

This year has forced us to change a lot of our traditions. We have had to find new ways to celebrate, to gather and connect. Things that wear on your spirit also wear on your health. And, at this point, even those of us who have been conscientious all year are tempted to ignore the rules. For the sake of our health and the health of our loved ones, it’s essential to stay the course. Our actions now can help us have happy holidays next year. But that doesn’t make this year any easier. Instead, we are offering you tips to help you enjoy this year while staying healthy.

Our team is located in San Diego. Last week, we got the rough news that our region of California was going into a much more stringent level of restrictions as hospitals were becoming overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases. We are under stricter stay at home orders until after Christmas.

Before, the rules had stated that up to three households could meet up outdoors. Now, that is no longer allowed. One person in our office had been preparing for a Christmas Day in the park. She has a freezer filled with picnic food ready to be cooked the morning of Christmas and brought in an insulated bag to the park. That’s off the table. And while our team supports measures to protect the public, the news was still devastating. She will spend Christmas alone, and now she has a raw family-sized meatloaf — filled with chestnuts and parsnips — taking up space in her freezer.

When the news broke, she felt like crying. But the doorbell rang. On her doormat, there was a box left by the mailman with a Christmas card from an old college friend, a picture of her “nephew,” and Christmas cookies baked with love. The cookies would usually be hand-delivered. There would usually be hugs exchanged. But receiving the box meant the world to her. The next day our team member packed up her traditional spiced nuts and shipped them off to people she would normally meet up with over the holidays.

If you usually do a treat exchange, you may be wondering how to pull it off this year. You have some options. First, if you don’t have the energy, you can opt-out, send your family and friends a message simply saying you’re opting out this year. This whole year has been draining. But, if you want to, you can do a digital swap. You can send the recipe! It can be hard to give up the secret, we know! But sharing your recipe is one way to send your treats without needing to physically send them. Your loved ones can make your specialty in their own kitchen and have your recipe for years to come! If you are looking for some new low-sugar holiday cookie recipes, you can check out ones we shared in this blog.  

If they live close enough, and the rules in your area allow it, you can still drop them off. Just be sure to do so safely. Stay outside, stay six feet away from one another and wear a mask. You can drop them off at someone’s front door or in their mailbox. The significant change is that you can’t go inside for a cup of coffee or hot cocoa!

If you decide to ship cookies, using the prepaid “if it ships it fits” box option is usually your cheapest and fastest choice. Even the lightest parcels are very expensive to ship! You can schedule a pickup and have your mailman drop off your boxes before you pack them and take them once you’re ready to send them. Don’t ship delicate cookies: no matter how well you pack them, they will rattle around in the mail. Pack them in an airtight bag. The seal is more important for freshness than a perfect presentation! And make sure you add some paper or cushioning material to ensure your cookies get there in good shape.

The gift of homemade treats is terrific for the giver and receiver: it is a festive activity, a kind gesture and a delicious reward! If you would like to ship cookies, you should do so soon. With people not traveling for the holidays, everyone is shipping a lot of gifts this year! Out of the five packages of nuts our team member sent, four were delayed in the mail. Even if they arrive after Christmas, they will still be delicious. Just make sure you seal them well.

Banner Image: Oriol Portell via Unsplash
December 09, 2020
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