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Mail holiday packages with care

Tips from Your Holiday Shipping Experts

12/13/2013, 6 a.m.
With 15 billion cards, letters and packages expected to be delivered this holiday season, the U.S. Postal Service has some ...

With 15 billion cards, letters and packages expected to be delivered this holiday season, the U.S. Postal Service has some tips to help get gifts to their destination swiftly and safely.

The Postal Service wants to make it easier to ship packages to family and friends this season,” says District Manager Darryl Martin. “Proper addressing and proper packaging will help us give every gift the service it deserves. Our busiest mailing day is Monday, December 16. And, of course, by mailing as early in the season as possible, customers will be able to enjoy knowing their packages will arrive in plenty of time for holiday.”

If you’re shipping gifts this holiday, there are more reasons than ever to choose Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes. This is the first holiday season that consumers and businesses can take advantage of the recently revamped Priority Mail, which now comes with free insurance, day-specific delivery and free tracking. With this low-cost flat-rate shipping product— which has no additional surcharges— the Postal Service anticipates that its highly-popular Priority Mail offerings will be very attractive to cost-conscious small businesses and holiday shippers.

“The best shipping value may be our Priority Mail Flat-Rate Boxes,” says Martin. “No calculating of postage or weighing is needed. If it fits, it ships.”

Consumers can avoid any holiday hassle by visiting usps.com — the Postal Service’s website that will help make mailing and shipping easier. Nearly 75 million customers will skip the trip to the Post Office altogether and take advantage of convenient online shipping. Click-N-Ship and other online services allow customers to print shipping labels, order free Priority Mail boxes, purchase postage and even request free next-day package pickup.

How to pack a gift like pro:

*Pick a strong and sturdy box, and tape it closed tightly. (No Scotch tape!)

*Cushion contents to protect them during transportation, wrap glass and other fragile items with bubble wrap.

*Place wrapped gift boxes inside a plain larger box and cushion breakable items.

*Remember to place an extra shipping label and description of the contents inside the box, so they can be linked to the sender or recipient in case the box opens or the label comes off or becomes illegible.

Successful shipping tips:

*Print addresses clearly; all CAPS are preferred. Most labels are read by computers now.

*Include complete “to” and “from” information.

*Check www.usps.com for the correct ZIP Code – never guess.

*Be sure to shake your box: if the contents move, more cushioning material is needed.

If you insure your package, be sure to retain a receipt or invoice showing proof of value in case a claim must be made: USPS cannot insure for sentimental value.

For an item you deem irreplaceable, use Registered Mail: it will take longer to arrive since it’s signed for at every stop along its way – but it’s our most secure mailing service.

Visit www.usps.com to pay for and print postage or to schedule a pick up.

Lines will be shorter if you avoid Monday the 9th and Monday the 16th.

The Postal Service recommends the following mail-by dates to ensure your gift arrives on time:

Dec. 14 — Standard Post, the most economical shipping service

Dec. 20 — First-Class Mail

Dec. 21 — Priority Mail

Dec. 23 — Priority Mail Express

Due to security requirements, packages bearing postage stamps that weigh more than 13 ounces must be presented to a retail associate or postmaster at the Post Office: they cannot be dropped in blue collection boxes or in lobby drops.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses, and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations