I know I’m not the only one who feels like the holidays snuck right up! Hanukkah was so early it even collided with Thanksgiving! And with only 27 days between turkey day and Christmas, it can be challenging to feel like we have enough time to make this holiday season everything we want it to be.
One task that doesn’t need to take up all of your precious shopping/decorating/cookie eating time? Standing in line at the post office! Here are a few ways to avoid the holiday madness and still ship your packages in time to delight your loved ones on Christmas morning. (I’ll try to save you some money too!)
- Use flat rate priority boxes – If you’re shipping something heavy, flat rate priority boxes and envelopes are often the least expensive way to ship gifts to anywhere in the U.S. (Flat rate boxes also work internationally! But they’re not always the least expensive option.) Even if you’re shipping something light, it can sometimes be more cost-effective to use the flat rate boxes so you don’t have to go out and buy a shipping box. Flat rate boxes and envelopes are FREE and available at your local post office. They’re also available for free from usps.com, but don’t count on getting them in time for this Christmas (go ahead and start planning for next year though!) The awesome thing about flat rate boxes is that you don’t have to weigh your package and it only takes 2-3 days for your package to travel to anywhere in the country! Ship by Saturday, December 21st to ensure your package arrives by Christmas.
- Print your own postage – This saves time AND money! Did you know that the price you pay to ship a package at the post office is actually a little more than what you pay if you print your own postage? Save a few bucks (and more than a few minutes) by using USPS Click-and-ship. If you’re using a flat rate box, you don’t have to weigh anything. If you’re using your own packaging and don’t have a postal scale, a food scale will work just fine! Or stand on a digital scale holding your package, then stand on it without the package and do a little subtraction. (I avoid this method during my holiday cookie binge. But in a pinch, it works.) You don’t need a fancy printer or even sticky label paper. Just print on regular paper and tape it to your package! Then skip the mile-long post office line and drop your package in a blue box if it’s small enough or in the large package bins in the post office lobby. Or even better…
- Request Carrier Pickup – This service is FREE if you’re shipping Priority or Priority Express packages. Go here, fill out the short form, and leave your packages by the door! Couldn’t be easier. Carrier pickup is also available from UPS and FedEx, so check out your options!
- Find an alternative post office – The line at the main post offices may make you run for the hills (or you might have to literally run to the hills just to get to the back of the line), but they’re not your only option. If you do have to go to the post office this season, see if there’s a small lesser-known post office in your area. These small post offices are privately owned, have the same rates and standards as the large post offices, and are often tucked away in little shopping areas or even inside grocery stores. Because they’re not as well-known they often have shorter lines (or no lines at all!) and don’t run out of supplies (like those flat rate boxes) as quickly. Find an approved postal provider here.
The holidays should be about family, fun, and festive ugly sweaters. Reduce your holiday shipping stress and get back to what matters!