There’s still time to get out those business and personal gifts, but deadlines are looming. To make sure you can still delight your recipients, make sure you pack carefully and ship on time.
Here are a few tips for last-minute gift-givers:
Shop Where They Cater to Procrastinators: For those of us who put things off until the last minute, there is help.
- Amazon Prime Members receive receive free, 2-day shipping year-round, including right before the holidays. For those who aren’t members, it's not too late. You can you sign up for a free one-month trial. That means, as long as you order by December 22, you’re in good shape.
- Apple offers free, 2-day shipping on all their products. Just make sure you place your order by the end of the work day on December 22 if you want it there by the 24th.
- Bed Bath & Beyond’s online cutoff for standard shipping (48 contiguous states) is December 19. Expedited shipping by 12/21 and express by 12/22. Shipping price varies.
- Best Buy offers free, 2-day shipping during the holiday season. Order dates differ among product categories.
- Macy’s will deliver free with orders over $99. Order by 12/22 and your items will get there by Christmas.
- Target is offering free shipping during the holidays and will deliver by 12/25 if you order by December 20.
You’ll find a list of other retailers who cater to the last-minute shoppers in an article in the magazine Real Simple.
Know the Deadlines for Shipping: Here are key shipping dates at major shipping carriers:
FedEx Christmas Shipping Deadlines (within the U.S.)
Dec. 15 – Deadline for FedEx Ground shipments
Dec. 18 – Deadline for FedEx Home Delivery shipments
Dec. 19 – Deadline for FedEx Express Saver shipments
Dec. 20 – Deadline for FedEx 2-Day and 2-Day A.M. shipments
Dec. 21 – Deadline for FedEx Standard Overnight, Priority Overnight, First Overnight shipments
Dec. 25 - Deadline for all FedEx SameDay shipments
UPS Christmas Shipping Deadlines (within the U.S.)
Dec. 18 – Deadline for UPS 3-Day Select shipments (delivered Dec. 22)
Dec. 20 – Deadline for UPS 2nd Day Air shipments (delivered Dec. 22)
Dec. 22 – Deadline for UPS Next Day Air shipments (delivered Dec. 23)
Dec. 24 & 25 – No pickup or delivery services. (UPS Express Critical services available)
USPS Christmas Shipping Deadlines (within the U.S.)
Dec. 15 – Deadline for Standard Parcel Post shipments
Dec. 20 – Deadline for First Class Mail and Priority shipments
Dec. 23 – Deadline for Priority Express Mail shipments
Pack it Right. Gifts that are packed incorrectly risk being damaged in shipment or waylaid during transit. FedEx alone expects to ship over 22 million packages, so you don’t want your package to get lost in the shuffle.
The biggest packing mistakes people make are:
- Not using a new box. Using an old box could mean it won’t be strong enough to withstand the trip. And if the box still has old shipping labels or bar codes on it, shipping machines might have trouble sending it to the right destination.
- Not padding the contents well with air pillows to cushion the journey. The rule of thumb is if a package isn’t bulging slightly when you push it down, it’s not packed securely enough.
- Not sealing the package right. Packages sealed with the wrong tape could open during transit. Use water-activated tape to seal packages and apply it in an H-pattern. This will assure you that the package will stay sealed during shipping.
Check out these additional last-minute shopping and shipping tips from NBC News.
Surprise and delight those on your gift list with a present that arrives on-time and looking special by shopping, packaging and shipping with the journey in mind. And Happy Holiday from all of us at Better Packages and the Intertape Polymer Group.