By Judy Nelson, Owner and Operator of Mail Copy Plus
A chill is in the air, the leaves are falling from the trees, and the holiday season is upon us. It is a time of caring and sharing with our friends and family, and sometimes it can become hectic. Let’s face it, families of today are spread out. Children, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles sometimes live hundreds of miles apart, so how do we keep with the spirit of giving without giving up our own sanity? Here are some tips to help keep the gift shipping chaos under control:
- Ship Early! Be aware of early holiday shipping deadlines to avoid the rush. This year is a special bonus of falling on a Sunday, which means we need to plan a little earlier. Mondays are normally the busiest shipping days, so you can avoid lines by coming in Tuesday thru Sunday. For a Christmas delivery, ship by December 16th (ground*) or December 22rd (express).
- Avoid old boxes! If a box has been shipped around a lot, it loses its strength and integrity. Use a new corrugated box that is designed for shipping. We even have some pretty decorative boxes that can double as wrapping and a shipping box.
- Address inside and out! Put the receiving address on the inside as well as the outside of the box. An index card or plain old piece of paper will work.
- Use the right tape! Duct tape, string, masking tape and regular transparent tape are NOT recommended because the adhesive breaks down. Two-inch wide (minimum) professional-grade packing tape is a must.
- Brown paper wrapping is out! Do NOT take the extra time to wrap your packages in brown paper as it could get caught in carrier conveyor belts and delay the delivery. We know it looks better when you hand it to us, but the carriers reserve the right to refuse a package that is wrapped in paper or string.
- Protect the fragile items! Wrap each item separately with at least two inches of cushioning, such as bubble wrap or packing peanuts for fragile items. One of the biggest mistakes made: Underestimating the amount of packing needed. Fragile items should have no room to move in the box. Newspaper is a great filler for non-fragile items, but for fragile items it is not because it has no give or cushioning in it like bubble wrap and packing peanuts do.
- Food rules! All food should be sealed in an airtight container or plastic bag before putting them in gift boxes. Meats, cheeses, fruits and other perishables should ship on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, ideally via Next Day Air. Mark the box “perishable.” Keep in mind that if sent out Next Day Air on Friday, it is a Monday delivery unless extra fees are paid for a Saturday delivery. That is ESPECIALLY relevant this year, as Christmas Eve falls on a Saturday!
- Consider the odds on the odd shapes! Double box the item, make sure sharp corners and edges are made blunt with foam or cardboard. Depending on the object, the trained packing and shipping professionals may be the best bet.
Having been in the packing and shipping business for more than a decade, I have seen more than a few holiday delivery disasters averted by the certified packing experts employed at Mail Copy Plus. Some customers simply do not have the time or energy to waste on packaging things up properly, while others want to be certain that the perfect gift selected for that special someone arrives in pristine condition.
If it seems that time is running out for all of the things on the To Do List, Mail Copy Plus will be open the two Sundays before Christmas.
From our family to yours, we wish you a very happy holiday season!
*Money-back service guarantees for on-time deliveries stop early December for ground.