Tips for Safely Shipping Holiday Gifts

Shipping gifts to family and friends shouldn’t add to the stress of the holidays. Stay in the giving spirit with these tips on how to properly package items.

First, don’t procrastinate.
Be aware of holiday shipping deadlines and beat them. It’s no secret that the issues with the supply chain at our docks around the country and the ever-increasing capacity hitting the big shipping companies are causing major delays in deliveries. As we approach Christmas, the number of packages moving back and forth continues to increase. Be sure those thoughtful holiday gifts get to your people in time.

Use a strong box.
Be sure you have the right boxes and packing items. Start by using a sturdy box. Fragile items need the protection of a strong box that won’t cave in or be easily crushed. If your items are non-breakable or soft, such as clothing, reusing a shipping box is fine. Get a box that’s large enough to hold your item and the packing materials that will surround it.  

Create four corners of protection.
Use plenty of packing protection. Try to encase the item(s) so that they’ll be protected on all sides. You can do this with tissue paper, soft shredded materials, bubble-wrap, packing peanuts, etc. Wrap the item with tissue paper, then a layer of bubble-wrap if you have it. If the item is hollow, such as a vase, stuff extra packing material inside to help support it.

Fill in the empty space.
Line the base of the box with packing material. Place the tissue-wrapped item on top of the cushion base. If you’re using packing peanuts, make sure the item sits on top of the cushion and doesn’t sink through to the bottom of the box. Fill in the entire area around the item, as well as any empty space, with packing material, making sure to have at least a couple of inches of cushion between the item and the box, then fill any remaining space above the item to the top of the box. If the item is oddly shaped, make sure any longer, protruding parts have enough cushion space from the side of the box as well. You want the item secure enough so that it doesn’t move around inside the box in transit.

When your item is secure and packed inside the box, tape all flaps and seams of the box with packing tape. For fragile items, mark the sides of the box as “fragile” or have the postal carrier stamp it accordingly.

Extra tips:

— For baked goods or other food items, pack as tightly as possible. Soft items, such as brownies, can be packed in a plastic container, while hard, brittle items like cookies travel better in a plastic bag with an outer layer of packing materials so they have room to move slightly within a confined space during transit and don’t arrive in a pile of crumbs. Consider packing them in individual servings for additional support.

— For perishable items, such as baked goods or candy, it’s wise to pay the additional cost for overnight or second-day shipping to ensure fast delivery and avoid spoilage or melting.

— For liquids, put the item(s) in a plastic bag in case it leaks. Then wrap in tissue paper and an additional inch or two of bubble wrap or packing materials.

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