Holiday Shipping Tips And Deadlines

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With Christmas only 10 days away, the deadlines to get gifts and letters into the mail so that they'll arrive in time for the holiday are upon us. The Postal Service anticipates that Dec. 15, will be the busiest mailing day of the year.

Vera Gibbons has reminders about holiday shipping deadlines for the major carriers and the right way to pack your gifts to make sure they arrive in one piece.

Gibbons said for those of us mailing gifts, it's better to mail early to in order to save money. Procrastinating will cost the shipper. If you wait until next week it is prohibitively expensive.

Holiday Shipping Deadlines

U.S. Postal Service
Ground: Dec. 16
Priority mail: Dec. 20
Express mail: Dec. 23

FedEx
Ground: Dec. 17
Two Day: Dec. 22
Overnight: Dec. 23

UPS
Ground: Dec. 15
Three day: Dec. 19
Express: Dec. 22
Next Day air: Dec. 23

Most standard online shipping offers expire on or before Dec. 19. Although quite a few sooner than that. Go to dealhack.com/deadlines for a quick-reference guide to the delivery deadlines of over 150 major online retailers.

Holiday shipping tips

1. Wrap each item separately with two inches of cushioning -- bubble wrap, air pillows, packing peanuts. One biggest mistakes people make: underestimating the amount of packing needed. If you need supplies, a good site to go to is uline.com

2. Avoid old boxes. If a box has been shipped around a lot, it loses its strength/integrity. You want to use a new corrugated box that's designed for shipping and label it inside and out.

3 Use the right tape. No duct tape, no masking tape, no cellophane tape, no string (conveyor belt can snag it). Use professional-grade packing tape, two inches wide. The adhesive on other tapes can break down...

4. All food should be sealed in an airtight container or plastic bag before putting them in gift box and shipping box. Meats, cheeses, fruits, should ship on a Mon, Tues. or Wed., ideally via next day air. Mark them "perishable."

5. It's OK to go to the professionals with odd-shaped boxes. You can try to double box and make sure to blunt corners, wrap edges with foam or cardboard, or you can leave it to the pros -- UPS stores, Fed Ex, Kinkos, DHL authorized shipping centers -- packing experts are there to make sure gifts are properly packed and will arrive on time and in one piece.
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