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How to Avoid Holiday Shipping Glitches

Tips to Avoid Shipping Glitches

Even when planning ahead with the best intentions, there may be one item on your holiday to-do list that could be easily overlooked — shipping your presents to family and friends.

You took the time and effort to either make or purchase the perfect gift. Of course you want to be received in the same condition it was sent. To help your package arrive undamaged, on time, and reduce the stress of the season, the Postal Service offers these tips to avoid shipping glitches.

Select a durable box to protect the contents. Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express boxes are free at local Post Offices.

Do NOT reuse boxes — they weaken in the shipping process.

Properly address packages. Include both “to” and “from” information and only on one side.

Print addresses clearly and include all address elements, such as apartment numbers and directional information (ex: 123 S Main St. Apt. 2B).

Never guess a ZIP Code. Look up a ZIP Code at under Quick Tools. NO ZIP is better than a WRONG ZIP.

Place a card inside the package with delivery and return addresses. This helps postal employees deliver the item should the mailing label become damaged or fall off.

Pay attention to batteries. In general, batteries should be securely packaged in the manufacturer’s original packaging.

Items shipped with batteries installed that cause ticking, vibrations or other noises during transportation can be delayed due to security concerns.

Lithium batteries are hazardous materials and are restricted by type, quantity and battery strength. Information about shipping batteries, including lithium batteries, is in Publication 52, Hazardous, Restricted and Perishable Mail, sec. 349.22.

Leave space for extra cushioning inside and stuff glass and fragile, hollow items, like vases, with newspaper or packing material to avoid damage. When mailing framed photographs, take the glass out of the frame and wrap it separately.

One last tip is to check suggested domestic, international and military mailing and shipping deadlines on the Postal Service Holiday Newsroom at

Let the Postal Service do what our employees do best to get your package to its destination. Then you can use your time for other holiday activities like decorating, cooking, visiting, or watching your favorite holiday movie…..fa-la-la.


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