It’s that time of year when we get a lot of questions about how to go about ordering a Mail Order Mystery for the holidays. So we figured it would be helpful to put all of the info down in one place.
We have options for you. But one thing to keep in mind, and we are going to say it here in case you don’t read all the way to the end: if you have any special shipping instructions please email us as soon as you place your order. Unfortunately, we cannot make changes to an order once it has been printed and packed. And that happens pretty quickly after an order is placed.
I want the mystery to start in December. Can I order now?
Yes, by all means! When you place your order you select whatever Thursdayyou would like us to begin shipping. If you choose December 14 as your ship date, for example, we mail the first letter on December 14.
I am ordering this for a holiday gift. What date should I choose?
We are based in Toronto, Canada, so you need to factor in mail delivery times when you select a date. Please keep in mind that we cannot guarantee precise arrival dates and holiday mail can be unpredictable. Mail in Toronto usually arrives within 2 business days, 3 days for anywhere else in Ontario and 4 days for the rest of Canada. Mail to the USA usually takes about a week but can (and often does) take up to 10 business days.
Do I need the first letter to arrive before Christmas so I have something to wrap up and put under the tree?
No. Timing the arrival of the first letter can be tricky. You can print a downloadable gift note
from our website that announces the beginning of a Mail Order Mystery. We recommend this option for two reasons - 1) the above-mentioned unpredictability of holiday mail and 2) kids get their first letter in the mail, addressed to them, and that is pretty darn exciting for them.I don’t care what you recommend. I want the first installment to be here before Christmas so I can wrap it up and put it under the tree.
Hey, no problem. This is definitely an option. If you want to guarantee that the first letter arrives before Christmas we can “split” your order. You choose a Thursday for us to send the first letter, which you can then stash in the secret gift cupboard, and then choose the Thursday you would like us to resume mailing the rest of the mystery. Just remember to email us after you've placed your order to let us know you'd like your mystery sent out this way.
I know you usually send out one installment a week for six weeks. Is it possible to send all the installments in one package so I can hand them out at the pace I want?
Absolutely. You might want to hand out an installment per day to keep your kids busy while they're off from school. Or maybe you're going away on a long trip. We can package all of the installments for your mystery together in one box. We'll put numbers to indicate the order in small print on the back. Just remember to email us to let us know.
How do I request special shipping instructions? I don’t see a place in the checkout to enter a note.
If you have any special shipping instructions, like splitting your order, sending all the installments together in one box, holding your order for a few weeks while you are on vacation etc, please send us an email to as soon as you place your order. We cannot make changes to an order once it has been printed and packed.
I am buying more than one mystery for kids who live at the same address. How do I do that?
Please place a separate order for each mystery you are buying, even if they are for kids at the same address. Because all the letters are personalized, placing separate orders helps us make sure that the right name is on the right mystery.
I am buying for three siblings. Do I need to buy them each a separate mystery?
You can if you want to. We know that ages, interests and bickering are factors to consider, but Mail Order Mysteries are frequently and successfully sent to siblings to work on together.
I have more questions. Where do I find the answers?
You can check the FAQ page
of our website. If you don’t find your answer you can contact us
. We are always happy to help!