'Tis the season when you finally have to use what you learned in school to write words on a box or envelope to send to someone else across the state, across the country or even over seas. Thanks to the convenience of email, we may have forgotten proper etiquette when it comes to sending a present via USPS or by other means. You never have to secure an email with packing tape. You never need to reinforce a snapchat. You don't need to use bubble wrap when skyping someone, but all may be needed to ensure a gift arrives to someone elses house and, preferably, on time. Here are a few tips to make sure that, when you're sending presents to loved ones, they arrive in once piece - no matter how fragile.

  • Use bubble wrap - even if you don't think you have to. balled up newspapers can work as well if you don't have any on hand but even if your gift is unbreakable, it may still show signs of ware if it's bouncing around inside the box you shipped it in.
    (tip: recycle old bubble wrap and even mailing envelopes with bubble wrap attached to the inside so you don't have to buy more.)
  • To avoid faulty electronics, consider removing batteries first or ship without the batteries. This also prevents batteries from draining during delivery.
  • If you're using a larger box, consider writing the shipping address on both sides of the box. Especially if you're using adhesive address labels.
  • As far as I'm concerned, you can never use enough tape. I avoid using duct tape as the weight adds to the delivery, but see-through tape, I wrap it everywhere. Over the address so the ink doesn't blur, around all seams and edges - pretty much anywhere I can. Saran Wrap and string aren't acceptable.
  • On that note, don't ship a gift in wrapping paper. It's okay to wrap gifts and place those in a shipping box, but don't wrap the shipping box in gift wrap as it will most likely come off in shipping.
  • USPS doesn't allow for liquids to be shipped, but UPS might. Make sure you ask them before you try to deliver it.
  • If you want to make sure your gift arrives before Christmas, here are the recommended dates.

    Military Mail or most place overseas by December 11th.
    Parcel Post (slowly across country in a truck) by December 16th.
    First Class or Priority Mail by December 20th.
    Express Mail by December 23rd - but that method is very expensive so I would avoid it if I could.

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