How Early Should You Ship Holiday Gifts And Cards To Avoid The Rush?

Posted on Nov 25 2014 - 3:58am by Susan

The holidays are quickly approaching. Do you know the recommended deadlines for shipping your holiday packages?

It’s already the middle of November, and once Thanksgiving is over, the holiday chaos really begins from hectic Christmas shopping to frantically writing holiday cards and standing in long lines at the post office to send packages and cards to out-of town loved ones.  Different continents, including the UK, Europe, and North America have recommended ship dates and other holiday packaging tips so you don’t feel as overwhelmed.

Image by Alvanman via Flickr

Image by Alvanman via Flickr

Recommended Shipping Dates

The United Kingdom, Europe, and the United States all recommend shipping your holiday items as soon as possible to avoid not the long chaotic lines at the post offices, as well as ensuring that they arrive on time. All of these caution if you wait until the latest recommended dates, they won’t guarantee your Christmas card will reach your favorite aunt or that your nieces and nephews will be able to open up the toys you mailed on Christmas morning.

If you’re sending packages or cards internationally by standard mail, formerly known as Air mail, the United Kingdom suggests strongly that you begin mailing by the beginning of December. If your packages are going to Asia, Australia, Africa, South or Central America, or the Caribbean, it needs to be sent by the first week of December. If it’s going to Europe, Canada, or the United States, it can get sent the second week.  If you are sending 1st Class or Royal Mail that requires a signature, you can send that within the UK from December 18th to December 23rd and still have it arrive on time.

Both Europe and the United States posted similar deadlines for sending packages overseas or for sending mail to the United States, especially if it was coming from a military base. They offer five different kinds of services, including Space-Avaliable (SAM), the cheapest rate because you need to wait until there’s room but you can ship up to 70 pounds, and Parcel Airlift (PAL), using air transport for faster services to the destination city. They also offer First Class, Priority, and Express Military Mail.  The dates are similar for both and recommend mailing all SAM packages by November 26 and PAL ones by December 3rd, while first-class, priority, and Express mail can be mailed up to around December 10th.

A letterbox stuffed with first and second class letters

How bulk shipping companies can help you

Companies like Parcel 2 Ship is a bulk company that arranges to ship your package by finding you the cheapest rate. Besides providing you with options, and actually booking the delivery of your package, they’ll send you everything you need for your package like labels so all you have to do is drop it off at your preferred location. This saves you so much planning and hassle.

Some tips to help you with sending your gifts

  • Print or type out each address correctly. Check zip codes, especially as an incorrect one may delay delivery longer than a forgotten one.
  • Pay extra to put items like jewellery, gift cards, or CDs in a bigger envelope.
  • Listen to a customer service rep if they suggest a larger box for the antique ornament you’re sending. Cushion it with bubble wrap or old newspapers.
  • Remove the batteries from new toys and send separately.
  • Only wrap presents inside the box, don’t wrap the outside of the delivery box because it could fall off or cover important information.