Ordering a Mystery for the Holidays? We’ve Got Answers to All of Your Questions.
If you have any special shipping instructions please contact us as soon as you place your order. 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'm ordering a Mail Order Mystery as a holiday gift. When should I place my order?
You can order now and choose the date that you would like us to begin shipping. We ship every Thursday. If you choose Thursday, December 13, for example, we will mail the first letter on December 13. Please keep in mind that this is the date we begin shipping, not the date the installment arrives.
What date should I choose?
We cannot guarantee precise arrival dates, and holiday mail can be unpredictable, but postal delivery standards can help with calculations.
If you live in Canada: We ship from Toronto, so mail within the GTA should arrive within 2 business days, 3 days for anywhere else in Ontario and 4 days for the rest of the country. The labour disruptions at Canada Post can be, well, disruptive, so you might want to factor in some extra time.
If you live in the US: We ship from Canada through USPS and mail usually takes about a week to arrive, give or take a day or two on either end. Your mail will not be affected by any labour disruptions at Canada Post.
A start date of December 13 gives your letter 6 or 7 business days to get to its destination. There is a good chance it will get there before Christmas but if it does not, it should arrive shortly after.
December 6 is a safe choice if you want to guarantee that the first letter gets there before Christmas. But if your mail route is not suffering holiday delays, there is a chance that the first and second installment could arrive before Christmas. If you want to keep your eye on the mail in case you need to intercept a letter, our return address is “International Headquarters of Information".
Do I need the first letter to arrive before Christmas so that I have something to wrap?
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.
But what if I really want the first installment to be a Christmas gift. Can I do that?
Yes. This option is not our favourite for logistical reasons, but we offer it due to popular demand. If you want the first installment by Christmas but don’t want to risk any other letters arriving before the holidays, we can “split” your order. Just choose any 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 shipping the rest of the mystery. The checkout page in our online store only allows you to choose one date, so make sure you choose the date you would like us to send the first letter. Then contact us with the order number and/or child’s name and the date you would like us to resume shipping.
I would like to control the timing and frequency of the installments. How can I do that?
No problem. We can send your mystery all in one box. We will number each installment so you know what’s what and you can dole them out in whatever order and whatever pace you choose.
I can’t find a place on the checkout page to enter shipping instructions. How do I do that?
If you have any special shipping instructions, such as splitting your order or packing all the installments together and shipping in one box, please contact us as soon as you place your order. We cannot make changes to ship dates once an order is printed and packed.
I am buying different mysteries 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. The letters are all personalized, so placing separate orders helps us make sure that the right name is on the right mystery.
I am buying for siblings. Do I need to buy them each a separate mystery?
You can if you want to but you don’t have 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.
What if kids are able to work together on the clues but would fight over the stuff?
We know that kids bicker, and we can tell you that the keepsakes in the final installments are bicker-worthy. If you would like each kid to have their own mementos we offer “sibling upgrades” for extra final installments. These upgrades are not available in our online store. If you are interested send us an email and we can send you a link.
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!