By Faith Peppers
University of Georgia
My mother got women in our neighborhood to make batches of their secret recipes that were his favorites. One neighbor made her famous peanut butter cookies that he loved. Another baked her special spicy cheese straws. I made my super-specialty: slice-and-bake sugar cookies straight from their premade refrigerated tube. Hey, I added fancy sprinkles.
We carefully packed them in wax paper and holiday tins. Then my mother took them to the local post office to be shipped.
A few weeks later we got a funny letter from my brother. He described how much he and his friends enjoyed our neighbor’s peanut butter cookies, but by the time they got them they were just a pile of crumbs they had to eat with a spoon. It was, indeed, the thought that counted.
The east-west German border is long gone, but the tradition of shipping holiday treats to men and women who serve our country in the military is alive and well.
Good intentions aren’t always enough. Getting those treats there fresh and in one piece takes time and planning.
To make sure your treats make it safely, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension food safety specialist Elizabeth Andress recommends:
Pay particular attention to packaging. It’s important to get the gift there in peak condition. She says to:
Mail delivery to troops overseas is often spotty. The shipping deadline for a mid-December arrival is late November to early December. Check with the local U.S. Postal Service or other shipping companies for exact deadlines.
When the smell of fresh-baked goodies fills your house this holiday season, it’s only natural to want to share the joy with your loved ones or neighbors who are serving in the military. A better option may be personal items like sunscreen, lip balm, playing cards, books and baby wipes, which can be just as big a treat as a tin full of homemade cookie crumbs.
(Faith Peppers is a news editor for the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)