Tips for seamless holiday shipping

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.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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