Holiday mailings made easy

It’s that time of year again when we are busy sending homemade goodies and presents to our friends and relatives, letting them know they are missed.  Many of us are awaiting those packages.

By Angel Wyrwas

It’s that time of year again when we are busy sending homemade goodies and presents to our friends and relatives, letting them know they are missed.  Many of us are awaiting those packages.

It seems more and more these days that people do a lot of their shopping online, especially in rural communities. Many of us are waiting for those packages as well.

There are a few things that can make holiday mailing a bit less stressful. The first thing is the packaging. When sending food, keep these things in mind:

Choose treats that travel well. Avoid fragile items that would break easily, since you don’t want your carefully made treats to arrive as a package of crumbs. Also, frosted and filled cookies may not work well. Most cookie bars and brownies make good candidates for mailing. Sturdy fruit breads, like pumpkin and banana, may also ship well.  Savory treats such as salted cereal mixtures, crackers, popcorn, nuts, trail mix and granola are other possibilities that can travel well.

Wrap cookies and bars in pairs, back to back, or individually with plastic wrap. For long journeys, double wrap items in both plastic wrap and foil, or foil and resealable plastic food bags. For added protection, pack treats tightly into a cookie tin or box. Then pack the container(s) inside a well-padded box for shipping. Use a heavy box for sending cookies. Line it with plastic wrap or foil. Lay down a generous layer of filler such as bubble wrap, foam packing pieces, or crumpled tissue paper, wax paper, or brown paper bag. The box should be full enough to prevent shifting of its contents when closed. Label the box “perishable” to encourage careful handling.

Some of the same advice applies when sending toys and other fragile presents. Boxes that are sturdy and packed full with enough filler to stop movement will go a long way in helping your item get to its destination in perfect condition.

In Fallon County there are three main shipping options: United States Postal Service, UPS, and FedEx. December 19-20 are the busiest shipping days of the year. UPS will deliver 15 million packages on the 20th. The USPS will ship more than 750 million packages throughout the holidays. Of course, the earlier you send or order your packages, the more assured you are of timely arrival and delivery.

Here are some note worthy dates that are quickly approaching:

USPS – Military parcel airlift mail: Dec. 4, priority mail and first class mail letters and cards: Dec. 11, priority mail express military service: Dec. 16.

-Priority mail international: Dec. 9

-Domestic first class package service-retail: Dec. 19, priority mail: Dec. 20, priority mail express: Dec. 22.

UPS – Dec. 18: last day to ship UPS 3 Day Select® service for delivery before Christmas Day, Dec. 20: last day to ship UPS 2nd Day Air packages for delivery before Christmas Day, Dec. 22: last day to ship UPS Next Day Air packages to be delivered before Christmas Day (delivery on Saturday, Dec. 23). Please note that these packages must be processed and labeled for Saturday Delivery. Saturday Delivery is not available to all ZIP codes.

FedEx – Dec 18: freight no-fee, money-back guarantee suspended for shipments with required delivery dates of December 18, 2017, through Tuesday, January 2, 2018, FedEx Express shipments delivered by the end of the day on published delivery commitment dates between December 18 and 23 are not eligible for the FedEx Money-Back Guarantee.

Dec. 22: FedEx Ground pickups on December 22 may experience 1 additional transit day, FedEx Freight will be open with normal pickup and delivery operations and a modified linehaul schedule. Shipments picked up on December 22 that are not moved on that day will resume transit on the next normal operating day

All three shipping companies offer package-tracking ability on their respective websites. You can see where your package is as it travels to its destination.

But what if you are waiting for a package? How do you know where it is and when it actually arrives? Most retailers will send an email link after an order is placed that will allow you to track your package. All three shipping companies also have their own mobile apps that allow you to track packages.

Even though these companies offer express shipping, those of us living in rural America know that shipping dates don’t always hold true to our area. Keep this in mind when planning your holiday mailings.

Remember that even though this time of year is busy and adds some stress to most of our lives, it is quadrupled for the employees of these shipping companies. They are working harder with less manpower that ever before in history. A friendly smile and less grief from their customers can go a long way in spreading Christmas cheer! Happy mailing!


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