Are you planning to ship Christmas gifts to friends or family located in far-flung places? If so, the easiest way to do this, of course, is to order the gift online and have the web merchant send it directly to the intended recipient.
However, we know many of you also like to give handmade crafts or locally produced goods as Christmas gifts. This usually means you have to handle the shipping—and packing—yourself. And while a handful of packing peanuts or a wad of bubble wrap might be sufficient for some items, extra fragile or delicate gifts need more attention to ensure they arrive intact. Here are some tips on how to protect Christmas presents when shipping:
- Choose the right size box: When the box is too big, the item will get jostled around too much and could break more easily. When the box is too small, the tape or seams might be compromised and the contents could burst out. Your safest bet is to go the Goldilocks route and choose a box that is just right in terms of size and maximum weight-bearing capabilities.
- Protect the contents with foam: If you need to guard the contents against strong impacts, nothing is as cheap and effective as foam. Charcoal foam sheets or eggcrate foam are perfect for lighter to mid-weight gifts, while cross linked polyethylene foams are best for heavier products.
- Reuse packing materials with caution: According to UPS, a single crease or tear in a cardboard box can reduce its strength by a whopping 70%, so be sure to thoroughly inspect any used boxes before putting them into service again. Similarly, many biodegradable or recycled packing materials are meant to be used only once, which means you’d be better off sticking with foam and other multi-use materials.
- Ship perishables early in the week: When sending cookies, cakes, or other homemade baked goods, plan to ship early in the week to help ensure the contents don’t have to endure several extra days of storage while the shipping companies shut down for the weekend.
Taking the time to protect gifts properly can mean the difference between delight and disappointment on Christmas morning, so follow these tips when packing and shipping this holiday season.