A Few Helpful Tips for Mailing Christmas Gifts

A Few Helpful Tips for Mailing Christmas GiftsThe holiday season is a busy time for everyone: retailers, postal and courier companies, and, of course, individuals who shop for Christmas presents for their friends and family. And if you have loved ones who don’t leave nearby, your holiday season will be even busier because in addition to buying perfect presents you’ll need to wrap and mail them. Let us offer you a few tips for mailing Christmas gifts that might make this process less of a hassle.

Many online retailers allow customers to purchase gifts and have them mailed directly to recipients. While this can indeed make your holiday shopping easier, some people don’t make use of this option because they want to add some personal touches to their Christmas gifts (gift wrapping, handwritten cards and notes, etc.) before mailing them, or because they want to mail several gifts in a single package. If you’re one of those who like to mail Christmas gifts personally, you should plan ahead to make sure the gifts reach their recipients in time for Christmas.

Make a List of Recipients

The first thing you need to do is decide who of your loved ones are going to receive their gifts in the mail because you won’t be able to see them in person this Christmas. Once you have the list, it will be easier for you to figure out which gifts to buy first, which shipping method to choose, what packing supplies you need, how much time you need to have everything done, etc.

Check Holiday Shipping Deadlines and Choose the Best Shipping Service

If you’re sending gifts during the holidays, you absolutely have to keep shipping deadlines in mind for your presents to arrive by Christmas Day. Most shipping carriers announce their holiday shipping deadlines around early October so that customers can plan ahead for hassle-free and timely delivery, as well as save money on shipping.

Once you know the shipping deadlines of all major carriers, you can compare all available options to choose the best shipping service in terms of speed and affordability. In most cases, the USPS will work just fine as long as you’re not too pressed for time and remember about the deadlines.

Purchase Gifts and Packing Supplies in Advance

We highly recommend that you start shopping for gifts around mid-November because retailers and shipping companies won’t be very busy yet, plus it will leave you with plenty of time to pack and mail the gifts. It will also give you a chance to make the most of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. Choose gifts that travel well and can be protected safely while in transit because they will travel a lot.

Of course, you will also need shipping supplies: properly sized boxes, void filler (material that fills the empty space in the box and protects its contents, such as bubble wrap, packing peanuts, crumpled tissue paper, shredded paper), and durable packing tape. If you want to wrap each gift individually, you will also need supplies like wrapping paper, ribbons, bows, gift tags, tape, etc.

Let’s talk a little bit more about shipping boxes. A properly sized box should be at least two inches larger on all sides than the items you’re shipping to leave enough room for cushioning, but not too big because in such a case you will need to use more packing materials and pay extra for shipping. The box should be durable; corrugated cardboard boxes are the best because they are strong and lightweight at the same time. If you’ve chosen flat rate shipping, you need to get appropriate flat rate boxes from the carrier.

While it is generally possible to reuse old boxes for shipping, as long as you remove any old labels and markings, we would recommend against mailing Christmas presents of all things in used boxes.

Pack the Gifts Properly and Attach Shipping Labels

Wrap each gift individually; if some of the gifts are fragile, consider double boxing them. Line the bottom of the shipping box with packing material and carefully arrange the gifts inside the box, with the heaviest ones on the bottom. Fill the empty space with more cushioning material. Close the flaps of the box and secure all seams with packing tape.

Now you need to purchase postage, attach shipping labels, and mail your packages. You have two options: to take your package to the nearest post office or UPS/FedEx store or to print shipping labels yourself using a service such as PostageMaker. We recommend the latter option because it will save you both time and money (due to shipping discounts), plus you will have more control over the process.

It’s advisable to print a backup shipping label and place it inside the box before taping it shut. This way, if something happens to the label on the package, it won’t get lost. To mail your gifts, simply bring them to the nearest drop-off location.