The Race to Get It There By Christmas
With Christmas fast approaching, time is running out for getting holiday packages in the mail on time. December 17th is the deadline to guarantee arrival by Christmas Day for ground shipping at both FedEx and UPS. After that day, it will cost you more to get packages to their destinations in time for Christmas. Monday was the busiest shipping day of the year at FedEx, with the company handling an estimated 19 million packages nationwide. Things were no different at the FedEx Houston distribution center, where workers started sorting and loading packages before the sun came up.
If you're a procrastinator and need a little more time, the U.S. Postal Service might be the way to go. Dionne Montague with the Houston USPS says December 20th is the last day to send packages via first-class mail and get them there by Christmas. "After the 20th, you have to send it priority mail, and that deadline is the 21st of December" she tells KTRH. "The absolute last day to mail and get it there by Christmas is December 22nd, and that would need to go by express mail." She says December 17th will be the USPS' busiest shipping day of the year, and December 19th the busiest delivery day.
Whether you use the postal service or a private shipping company, the rush to get packages wrapped up and sent off this time of year can often lead to problems with packing and shipping. Montague has a few recommendations: First, never try to ship any hazardous materials or perishable items unless the perishables are packed in dry ice. Also, make sure your packaging is strong enough. "Don't reuse a box, because a reused box is not as sturdy and it may fall apart in the mail," she says. Taking care with labeling is important too. "Right your 'to' and your 'from' on the same side of the box," Montague says. "You don't want to put the (sending) address on one side and put the return address on the other side, because then that could be picked up as the address." Whatever your shipping method, the basic rule is the longer you wait, the more you'll pay to get it there by Christmas.
Check out a Shipzi's 2012 holiday shipping deadline calendar here.