(StatePoint) Holiday plans may look different again this year. Some families will choose to host small gatherings, while others may celebrate from the comfort of home instead of traveling.

If you won’t be spending the holidays with loved ones—and if this season is anything like 2020—you’ll likely be shipping gifts. Here’s how to ensure a timely, damage-free arrival.

Be Aware of Shipping Deadlines

Each year, the United States Postal Service and other major shipping companies release deadlines to help people plan timely delivery of packages during their busiest season of the year. Whether you’ll manually ship gifts or order them online, prioritizing these deadlines is key. Give yourself ample time. Aim to have packages shipped about 10-12 days before the holiday. The USPS recommends no later than December 15, 2021 for ground shipping.

Invest in a Quality Box

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While it may be tempting to use any old box you have hanging out in the garage, worn-down boxes are much more likely to crumple in-transit. Additionally, if the package is too big for its contents, you risk things rolling or shaking; if it’s too small, you risk tearing and breaking.

With this in mind, consider investing in new, quality boxes, like Duck Brand Kraft Box. They are cost-effective, made from recycled, durable materials, and are available in a variety of sizes, all of which meet postal regulations, so you can pick the best fit that protects from damage, while keeping shipping costs down. 

Pick Proper Packing Tape

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If you’re going to invest in shipping supplies, don’t forget to include a strong, easy-to-use packing tape. Lower-quality options may lead to splitting or tearing, which is a recipe for disaster when shipping holiday presents (or even for storing décor until next year). Duck Max Strength Packing Tape offers premium quality and tough adhesion, to keep boxes and packages secure during shipping. Stronger and more durable than ordinary tapes, this packing tape is designed to seal even the heaviest boxes safely and securely to help prevent items inside from being damaged during delivery.

Add an Extra Layer of Protection

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Handle fragile packages with extra care by including the all-important layer of bubble cushioning. BUBBLE WRAP brand cushioning easily conforms around treasured objects and helps prevent shifts and damage during shipping. The product’s Air Lock Technology maintains consistent, light-as-air cushioning while filling empty voids in boxes, so items stay put. For best protection, make sure the bubbles are facing your gift to cushion impact.

Personalize the Package

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If you prefer a greener option, Flourish Brand Kraft Paper is protective, versatile and sustainable. Made from 100% recycled material, the shipping paper can be easily added to standard curbside recycling bins.

Plus, it makes it easy to wrap up and ship out large boxes, and can be used to fill packaging voids, so items stay in place. Or, as a fun indoor activity throughout winter, kids may enjoy using Kraft Paper to create customized, DIY wrapping paper. Other special touches to your long-distance holiday delivery could be including a thoughtful note or adding a drop of essential oil to the ribbon.

The holidays can be stressful. When you plan ahead and have the proper supplies on-hand, you’ll be able to quickly cross “ship holiday gifts” off your to-do list and enjoy the magic of the season.

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