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Beat the rush: Mail holiday packages early

If you have holiday gifts to ship, do it early. Better yet, do it now.

There are less than three weeks left before the deadline to ship presents set to arrive by Christmas.

“We always advise to ship early,” said Howard Orona, postmaster of the Silt post office.



But if you are sending presents far and wide, it’s a good idea to do it with some shipping savvy.

“No silver tape, no duct tape,” said Ted Bristol, owner of the UPS Store in El Jebel. Duct tape, he said, doesn’t stick to cardboard very well.



Other tips: If you’re shipping multiple packages to the same person, try to put them in one box because most of what you pay to ship are handling charges, Bristol said. Fewer packages amounts to less cost.

Avoid packing items with newspapers because paper is not strong enough to absorb the bumps, drops and stress of shipping, he said.

Each package has to withstand the weight of 150 pounds stacked on top of it and must be able to absorb the shock of a 30 inch drop.

It’s unpredictable how much a package will cost to ship via UPS or some other carriers because cost depends on size and weight.

“If you’re shipping feathers, we’re going to charge you for the size,” he said. “If you’re shipping lead, we’re going to charge you for the weight.”

If you choose to ship late, you’ll have to decide between Express or Priority Mail, FedEx or DHL, overnight UPS delivery, regular ground or another method.

But UPS has a secret: “If you’re shipping overnight to Denver, ground gets it there the next day,” Bristol said. That’s true if you’re shipping a package just about anywhere within about 500 miles of the Roaring Fork Valley, including eastern Utah (but not Salt Lake City), southern Wyoming and part of Nebraska.

Both Orona and Bristol cautioned that it’s best to ship early because overnight packages could be delayed by weather. All UPS and DHL packages are processed in Denver, so if the Eisenhower Tunnels are snowed-in, well, you could be out of luck.

Sometimes, though, packages will get there if they take the scenic route to Denver, Bristol said.

Barring bad weather, UPS can deliver a package by Dec. 24 if it’s shipped by Dec. 22. The two-day shipping deadline is Dec. 21 and the three-day shipping deadline is Dec. 20.

If you’re planning to send your gifts via the U.S. Postal Service, Orona said he recommends using Priority Mail because they will usually arrive in two or three days.

Using regular or Priority Mail for packages or letters going out of state, the mailing deadline is Dec. 21. Mailing deadlines for packages going to in-state destinations is Dec. 22. After Dec. 22, you must use Express Mail.

Deadline for Christmas delivery to U.S. military troops serving overseas is Dec. 10.

The deadline for international mail to arrive by Christmas is Dec. 12. Express Mail can be used until Dec. 19 for overseas military and most international destinations.

The Postal Service expects Dec. 19 to be the biggest mailing day of the year.


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