Mail Holiday Packages with Care

Tips from Your Holiday Shipping Experts

December 06, 2013 @USPS

RICHMOND, VA — 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 Jeffrey Becker. “Proper addressing and proper packaging will help us give every gift the service it deserves. We also ask customers to please drop off their mail before 1:00 p.m., if at all possible. We’ve scheduled early pick-ups and this gives us the opportunity to get their mail on its way earlier in our 24-hour processing cycle. To save their valuable time customers should try to mail Tuesdays through Sundays in December, avoiding the Monday the 9th and 16th which will be peak mailing days. And, of course, by mailing as early in the season as possible, customers will be able to enjoy knowing their gifts will get there in plenty of time.”

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 our 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 for your gifts may be our Priority Mail Flat-Rate Boxes,” says Becker. “No calculating of postage or weighing is needed. If it fits, it ships.”

Consumers can avoid any holiday mailing hassle by visiting   — 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 for delivery to their homes, 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  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  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
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


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A self-supporting government enterprise, the U.S. Postal Service is the only delivery service that reaches every address in the nation: 152 million residences, businesses and Post Office Boxes. The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations. With more than 31,000 retail locations and the most frequently visited website in the federal government,, the Postal Service has annual revenue of more than $65 billion and delivers nearly 40 percent of the world's mail. If it were a private-sector company, the U.S. Postal Service would rank 42nd in the 2012 Fortune 500. The Postal Service has been named the Most Trusted Government Agency for seven years and the fourth Most Trusted Business in the nation by the Ponemon Institute.

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