Plan Ahead for the Holiday Shipping Season!

Annie Lang's tips, ideas and shipping rates for the 2023 holiday season because Annie Things Possible at Christmas!
Planning ahead for a stress free season of sending holiday parcels and Christmas cards is key to getting you through the busiest time of the year without worry.   Whether you shop the local Black Friday sales or opt to order online from the comfort of your own home, shipping and receiving gifts to and from their correct destinations on time is always a challenge during this busy season.  Here are a few tips along with shipping deadline info links to get you started.  Get ready now and don't delay if you want your packages delivered by Christmas Day! 
Annie Lang's helpful tips and Holiday mailing deadline links because Annie Things Possible at Christmas!
No matter how much you plan, sometimes things go wrong due to weather, improper packaging, misdelivered parcels and service facilities employing seasonal temporary workers who are often overwhelmed with busy daily delivery schedule deadlines.  Before you head off to send your package on it's way, here are a few things to keep in mind.
First and foremost is to know your deadlines and don't wait until the last minute.  Here are the links to the most popular shipping services for the 2023 holiday season:   USPS    FedEx   UPS
Some U.S. Postal Service, UPS, DHL and FedEx boxes are free so check out their online sites.  You can also avoid standing in long lines by pre-paying for services and supplies, printing packaging labels, signing up for tracking, and scheduling pickup/delivery options. 
Annie Lang's tips for packaging items to mailed during the holiday season because Annie Things Possible when handled with care!
Purchase packaging supplies ahead of time from your local office supply store, department store or home improvement center.  Supplies should include a variety of strong boxes, bubble wrap (most people do not appreciate packaging styro peanuts!) and wide rolls of clear packaging tape. Using a repurposed box? Make sure the bottom is reinforced with tape and remove ALL labels, barcodes and stickers first!  You can add extra waterproofing for packages (that may end up sitting in wet snowy conditions) by lining them with plastic before packing. 
  • Leave enough packing material space between items in the box, and wrap individual items with double cushioning if necessary.  
  • If an item has batteries, remove them and bubble wrap separately before the final packing. 
  • Tape ALL box seams and corners securely!  
  • Stick an extra mailing label inside the box where it can easily be found when opened in case the exterior label becomes illegible.  
  • Cover printed labels with clear tape and insure they are firmly secured to the top of the package, accurate and legible! 
Annie Lang suggests UPS Store shipping options for holiday parcels because Annie Things Possible during the giving season!
Don't want to pack it yourself?  The local UPS Store will do it all for you!  Online merchants often give you the option at checkout to have purchases pre-wrapped, shipped and delivered direct to your recipient and often include a gift tag.  Both of theses options will cost a bit, but the price can be well worth it this time of year!  If sending baked goods, meats, cheeses and fruits, consider shipping on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday to avoid weekend deliveries which may end up sitting outdoors in freezing temps for a day or so over the weekend!
Annie Lang's tips for correctly preparing holiday greeting cards because Annie Things Possible!
Cost to mail a first class 1oz Christmas greeting card via USPS will cost you more this year as prices have risen from .60 in 2022 to .66 in 2023.  Beginning on Jan January 21, 2024, the rate will increase 2% to .68.  This is the 4th price in 2 years and experts are now expecting a much larger hike July 2024 which may be as high as 7%-10%!  You may want to consider buying Forever stamps in rolls right now before the rate increases go into effect.  The art on a Forever might not be as seasonally festive as a Christmas themed stamp, but you'll save in the long run when mailing letters in the near future.  You'll also save more money on seasonal greeting cards if you purchase in boxes or bundles.  In the case of Greeting Card Universe...the more you buy, the more you'll save, especially if you apply coupon codes.  You'll also save both time and expense by avoiding having "undeliverable" cards returned to you through USPS.   The most common reasons for return to sender mail are illegible handwriting, wrong address and or zip codes and not enough postage.  Here are a few helpful tips you may or may not be aware of for properly preparing to your Holiday Greeting Cards for mailing:
  • Always put the address and the postage on the FRONT of your envelope
  • On a letter, the address should be parallel to the longest side.
  • Use ALL capital letters
  • Handprinted block letters or sans-serif fonts are recommended as script fonts are more difficult to read 
  • Do NOT use punctuation.
  • Choose 10-point type or higher that can easily be read.
  • There should be only one space between city and state.
  • There should be two spaces between state and ZIP Code
  • Envelope seals and stickers should be placed on the back envelope flap
Annie Lang makes the holidays the most wonderful time of the year because Annie Things Possible at Christmas
If you've planned ahead this busy season, you'll surely enjoy a worry free Holiday shipping experience and have plenty of time to enjoy all the upcoming family, friends, gatherings and events that make this season the most wonderful time of the year!