When a parent or a secret Santa mails holiday gifts to family, friends, or co-workers, it’s always fun to use colorful ribbons, and include a personal note and attach whimsical stickers. Preparing the package is part of the fun. But the millions of gift givers who ship holiday packages — also want to ensure contents like homemade peanut brittle arrive undamaged.
This year, more people are expected to send gifts to friends and family near and far as they forgo travel and large holiday gatherings due to pandemic-related restrictions. Make sure to send items early enough so they get there at the right time. And whether you’re sending gifts to Mississippi or Mali, here are some packing tips to ensure they arrive intact.
Best practices for packing and shipping Holiday Gifts
A container-within-a container method is a good way to keep gifts secure in transit — think Russian nesting dolls. What you ship usually determines the packaging. A small box containing earrings can fit into a small box. Bigger items may need larger, stronger containers.
If you recycle old packing boxes, make sure they’re sturdy and remove or cover all bar codes, labels and logos. You can buy boxes (in person or online) and related materials at many retailers. Pack N Send can help you with your packing, shipping, and more.
Fragile items such as glass vases need special care. Stuff them with foam peanuts or newspaper to avoid breaking, and wrap the exterior with padding such as bubble wrap.
No matter what you ship, stack larger, heavier items on the bottom. Place gift packages in a paperboard or corrugated box, leaving space inside for more padding so the contents don’t move when you press on the box.
Federal law bans or restricts the mailing of certain items, such as alcohol and ammunition. Foreign countries also may have separate restrictions, prohibitions and size/weight standards.
Food gifts need special care
With many people spending the holiday apart, it is expected that more food gifts will be shipping this year. People are looking for ways to connect with others and express caring thoughts more than ever before, since being kept apart and indoors.
And absolutely no one wants their homemade Christmas cookies and other goodies to fall apart in delivery. Fresh cookies tend to be more fragile, so let them cool to room temperature or freeze them before packing. Wrap individual cookies in plastic and pack them in a zip-seal bag or other airtight container.
To keep perishables cool, use insulated coolers or containers with gel packs (to maintain 32 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit). Line the bottom with plastic and absorbent pads or paper towels in case the contents thaw.
Be very exact when addressing packages
Addressing your package correctly is important to ensure it arrives on time or at all. Verify and clearly print the recipient’s address and the return address on the shipping box (and include a copy inside as an extra precaution). You can look up zip codes on the USPS website or call 800-ASK-USPS.
For international destinations, the Universal Postal Union’s website provides address formats by country. Packages bound for another country will go through that nation’s customs process, which may require you to complete a customs declaration and attach it to the package’s exterior in an envelope marked “Customs Documents.” Keep in mind that packages traveling to other countries may take longer than expected to arrive, so mail with plenty of time to spare.
Making your shipped gifts festive
Senders also want their gifts to look merry. While outer shipping boxes shouldn’t sport wrapping paper, twine or baubles -— which can be a shipping hazard or get damaged — you can adorn them with playful stickers, drawings or sayings.
Inside, you can go to town decorating gift packages with colorful ribbons, or ornaments. Place your decorated gifts inside the shipping container, leaving plenty of room for extra cushioning for stabilization. Tape all box seams and flaps by using packing or wide adhesive tape.
If needed, mark your container as “Perishable” or “Fragile” to help protect the contents during shipping. The recipient will truly appreciate the special touches.
Contact us as early as you can this year to let us know your holiday gift shipping needs at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us directly at 713-266-1450, and we will reply promptly to assist in getting your gifts shipped to arrive on-time, and in one piece.