WASHINGTON – There are only three weekends left until Christmas and deadlines are looming for gift-givers who need to send packages to friends and family. Here are some shipping tips to help you this holiday season.
Mail-by deadlines for pre-Christmas arrival:
Dec. 3: International priority mail
Dec. 11: International express mail
Dec. 14: Domestic parcel post
Dec. 20: Domestic first-class mail
Dec. 21: Domestic priority mail
Dec. 22: Domestic express mail
To get a North Pole postmark:
Sign greeting cards as usual
Address the envelopes
Put a holiday stamp on the envelope
Put all of the envelopes into a larger envelope or, preferably, a Priority Mail Box
Put postage on the larger envelope or box
Put in the mail by Dec. 10 and mail to North Pole Postmark, Postmaster, 4141 Postmark Dr., Anchorage, AK, 99530-9998
To avoid a shipping glitch:
Print addresses clearly and make sure to include all address elements, such as apartment numbers and directional information.
Remove batteries from toys.
Place a card inside that package that contains the delivery and return address. This ensures the safe return of an item that couldn’t be delivered if the mailing label is damaged.
Never guess a ZIP code.
Include both “to” and “from” information on packages, only on one side.
Use a box strong enough to protect package contents.
Leave space for cushioning
Do not reuse mailing boxes
Stuff glass and fragile, hollow items — such as vases — with newspaper or packing material to avoid damage
When mailing framed photographs, take the glass out of the frame and wrap it separately
Holiday post facts:
The busiest mailing day for cards and packages is Monday, Dec. 17
The busiest delivery day for cards and packages is Thursday, Dec. 20
A projected 15.2 billion cards, letters and packages will be delivered between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve
The Postal Service is expecting a 20 percent increase in package volume this holiday season from last year. In December, 365 million packages are expected to be delivered.
The above tips are courtesy the United States Postal Service.