A Bonavista family is wondering who ate the Christmas cookies after a parcel destined for Alberta was returned in late February.

Miranda McCarthy said her mother sent the package to her brother in Calgary on Dec. 7, and it came back 12 weeks later.

"They noticed that the handwriting and the wrapping was different," she said.

"They opened it up because they were curious and they discovered the cookie and cake tins that were inside were empty, and the wrapped gifts that were in there were torn open as if somebody had to peep inside."

Believing the parcel had been tampered with, they tried to get in touch with Canada Post.

"They really couldn't tell them anything except to submit a claim," McCarthy told the St. John's Morning Show Thursday.

"My question is, 'how can this happen?' and my parents would like to have an explanation."

Tried twice to deliver

"I guess this is an unfortunate Christmas package story," said Canada Post media relations manager, Phil Legault.

Canada Post delivery downtown

Canada Post said it tried to deliver the parcel from Bonavista, but couldn't, and there was no return address. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

"We tried to deliver the package twice. The first time we left a notice card and then we came back a second time several days later and left another card for the package to be picked up at the post office."

In mid-January, Legault said the post office had to make a decision about what to do with the unclaimed parcel.

"If there was some type of return address information on it, along the way that disappeared from it, whether it was a sticker or something, that disappeared," he said.

With no information about where to send it, the package was brought to "the undeliverable mail office," which does a lot of detective work every year, according to Legault.

"Last year we returned 18,000 wallets that were dropped into our mailboxes....cell phones, we've had cell phones dropped in mail boxes."

Canada Post holiday deliveries

Canada Post says its staff opened the Christmas parcel to find some ID, but couldn't keep food because it would go bad. (CBC)

Legault said staff had to open up the parcel to see if there was any identification inside, and perishable items cannot be kept for very long.

"We can't keep these cookies inside the box, they would spoil, attract vermin, etc.," he said.

When McCarthy's parents contacted customer affairs, the post office was "able to connect the dots," said Legault.