That’s a wrap: Send gifts soon |

That’s a wrap: Send gifts soon

Don't wait too long to mail Christmas packages

Christina M. Currie

It’s all in the packing, experts say when offering tips about holiday shipping.

“The biggest thing is packing well and packing tight,” Craig Postmaster William Barclay said.

Jim Stoddard, owner of Pack Center on Yampa Avenue, said when he requested “Fragile” labels from shipping companies, he was met with silence.

“It was like, ‘if it’s fragile, you pack it right because we treat every package the same way,'” he said.

Stoddard offers packing supplies — including bubble wrap and Styrofoam peanuts — as well as packing help.

Using proper addresses also is a must.

“We get return addresses you wouldn’t believe,” Barclay said. “Things like from ‘Mom, Craig, CO.’ There are a lot of moms in Craig.”

Packages addressed to “Mom and Dad” also cause confusion. If an error exists anywhere in the address, it’s impossible to make an educated guess about a package’s destination.

Stoddard recommends logging the recipient’s telephone number when senders record the address information, so delivery problems can be solved easily.

Earlier is always better — and cheaper — when shipping packages for the holidays.

The United States Postal Service said when using Priority Mail, Dec. 21 is the cut-off date for getting packages delivered before Christmas. In-state mailings need to be sent by Dec. 21 and the deadline for most overseas military destinations is Dec. 11.

Shippers can extend that a little by using Express Mail.

“With Priority Overnight, you can really go down to the wire, but it’s going to cost a lot more,” Stoddard said.

He said packages can be shipped Priority Overnight on Dec. 23 and be delivered by Dec. 24, but not later because the holiday falls on a Saturday.

“With all the technology and shipping companies, you can really procrastinate,” Stoddard said.

Those in a hurry can drop a package off at Pack Center with the mailing information. Stoddard will pack it, if needed, and get it in the mail and settle the bill with a phone call later.

He also offers gift-wrapping services.

Pack Center will have extended hours during the days before Christmas. The post office will maintain regular hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.

Barclay said lines will get longer starting Dec. 11. Dec. 20 is expected to be the biggest mailing day of the year. Nationwide, the Postal Service is expected to handle 280 million postmarked cards and letters alone.

Dec. 23 is expected to be the biggest delivery day of the year.

Those expecting packages can clear the path for those gifts — literally.

Barclay said people can help by keeping dogs indoors, keep the area around mailboxes and walkways free of snow and make sure stairs are not icy.

Mailing tips

n Print complete name and address and your return name an address legibly on all mail. Place the same information in the inside of the package

n Use a box or package strong enough to protect the contents with no marking outside.

n Do not use boxes with alcohol/liquor or chemical markings on the outside.

n Cushion contents with newspaper, bubble wrap or Styrofoam. Pack very tightly.

n Remove batteries from toys.

n Do not use wrapping paper, string, masking or cellophane tape on the outside of the box.

n Seal the package securely with nylon-reinforced or glass-reinforced package tape.

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031 or by e-mail at

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