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The Mail-Order Gift: A Much Older Tradition Than You Think

This year, over 108 million people went Black Friday shopping without ever having to step outside.

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Online shopping has nearly taken over the traditional brick-and-mortar store — because who could pass up the opportunity to shop in their pajamas? From toys and clothes to pantry items and food, anything can be ordered online. With many of Leckerlee’s customers utilizing mail order and online ordering to purchase our lebkuchen, we decided to take a look at the history of mail order and how it all started. 

From Book Catalogs to Morsels by Mail

While the Internet wasn’t always available to shoppers, the mail-order catalog is much older than you might think. In fact, the first mail-order catalog is older than your grandparents…and their grandparents, and their grandparents.

It dates back to 1492 when publisher Aldus Manutius printed a catalog of his published books in Venice. From there, a series of catalogs and the first mail order in Europe finally led to the first mail order catalog in the United States in 1845: Tiffany’s Blue Book. Aaron Montgomery Ward then brought the catalog business to life by removing the middle man at the general store, thus drastically lowering the price of goods for the customer.

But it was Richard Warren Sears that drove the variety of goods offered in catalogs. Bicycles, sporting goods, refrigerators, groceries — all of these items could be purchased via catalog in 1895 and shipped to the customer in just a few weeks’ time. Over the years, more customers leveraged the convenience of mail-order even to include food and desserts, which became especially popular gifts during Christmastime.

Mail-Order Lebkuchen

While we have the founders above to thank for inventing stress-free shopping, Ericann Candy Company was one of the first companies in the US to offer lebkuchen via mail order and Leckerlee carries on that tradition today! Founded in 1949, the candy company made lebkuchen and other German sweets in Chicago until it evolved into a mail-order business operating out of Michigan.

Because Leckerlee’s lebkuchen enjoys a naturally long shelf life, we’re able to operate out of several retailers across the country, including:

  • Dean & Deluca: Headquartered in Leawood, Kansas, Dean & Deluca specializes in gourmet food, wine, and desserts. Gifts can also be customized with unique packaging and gift cards.
  • Mouth.com: Not sure what type of sweet to send in your holiday gifts? Mouth.com allows customers to put together their custom gift bags. Get some lebkuchen with a side of chocolate-covered strawberries, tarts and cookies.
  • Zingerman’s: For those with the ultimate sweet tooth, browse Zingerman’s online store for coffee cakes, gelato and more.

The beauty of ordering “morsels by mail” — you know your gift will be unique. Leckerlee’s holiday delectables are made by hand, using top-quality ingredients and finished off with a collectible holiday tin package.

This holiday season, don’t stress over long lines and hard-to-find parking spots. Celebrate the convenience of online shopping and order some lebkuchen for the perfect holiday gift. Click here to shop now!