Yes, really.
Star shaped sugar cookies in a red tin.
Credit: JMichl/Getty Images

Unless you delight in shipping fruitcakes to your enemies, there are two major foods that tend to travel through the mail during the holidays: cookies and popcorn. While yuletide popcorn usually travels in those festive tins that helpfully divide them into two or three flavors, getting Christmas cookies from point A to point B in a crumble-free state is another matter entirely. 

But what if I told you there was an ingenious way to combine popcorn and cookies in the same shipment to ensure your precious cargo of baked goods makes it to their destination in one piece? 

Well, there is, as Lifehacker points out. In their estimation, popcorn can serve as a perfect substitute for newspaper or packing peanuts, ensuring that any cookies you pack in a tin (which you definitely should be doing) suffer a minimum amount of jostling en route. They argue that the forgiving structure of popcorn (plus its biodegradability) can offer a good way to absorb any blows and cut down on the amount of open space your cookies have to slide around in. 

Assuming you already know how to pop some popcorn, the process couldn’t be easier. Get some plain popcorn (butter is NOT your friend here), and place a two inch deep layer of the snack at the bottom of your package. This acts as a sort of popcorn pillow for your cookie tin to rest on. From there, just fill the rest of the shipping box’s nooks and crannies with more popcorn. If there's extra space on the inside of your tin, a little popcorn wouldn’t hurt there, either. 

Will your recipient want to eat that popcorn? Probably not, given that it's just kind of been sitting unprotected in a box that’s traveled a potentially great distance. But its sacrifice is a noble one if it makes sure your gingerbread people arrive with their limbs intact and your peanut butter blossoms don’t wither before their day in the sun. 

So with the realities of 2020 forcing mirror people than ever to exchange their holiday cookies through the mail, a little popcorn-based packing insurance just might end up saving Christmas. If the popcorn shows up intact, you can even encourage your recipient to make those old-timey popcorn strings that you don’t really see as holiday decorations anymore. I’d like to see packing peanuts do THAT.