Wednesday November 18, 2015
As nice as it would be to visit all your loved ones over Christmas, sometimes that’s just not possible, and that’s why many people choose to send Christmas presents by post.
The run up to Christmas is the busiest time of the year for parcel posting, so to help you get your precious Christmas presents posted and delivered on time, here’s our guide to sending Christmas gifts.
1. Don’t leave it to the last minute
This time of year is extremely busy for parcel sending and this can lead to delays with delivery networks, especially around pre-Christmas sales like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. So your parcel may take a little longer than normal to be delivered.
If you want to make sure your Christmas presents arrive in time, get them sent off as early as you can – even if it means the receiver is tempted to have a sneaky look at their gift before Christmas!
If you’re a last-minute shopper by nature be sure to look out for information from the courier companies and the Post Office on their last delivery dates for Christmas.
2. Avoid the Post Office queues
You can avoid queuing up at the Post Office by booking a courier who will collect from your address, or using an alternative local drop-off point. Couriers like Hermes, UPS and Collect+ have local drop-off points all across the UK, meaning you can drop your parcel off with them and skip the Post Office queue – see our top picks for drop-off courier services.
Another great reason to use a courier service or booking through a parcel comparison website like My Parcel Delivery is the savings you can make. Take a look at how much you can save with My Parcel Delivery compared to Royal Mail parcel prices.
3. Pick items suitable for sending
If you’re still choosing which gifts to send, try and pick gifts that will travel well and are easy to package. A number of items aren’t allowed to be sent via courier or through the post (see the full list here: restricted and prohibited items) so make sure you don’t buy these items to send.
If an item from restricted or prohibited list is the gift you really want to give, then we suggest ordering it directly from the retailer and having it delivered directly to the receiver.
4. Packaging your Christmas gifts for posting
Packaging is really important to ensure your Christmas gifts arrive safely. Have a read of My Parcel Delivery’s guide to parcel packaging. It can be tempting to add some festive decorations to the outside of your parcel but we’d advise against this. Tinsel, bows, strings, ribbons and other extra decorations could get caught up when the parcel is being processed by the delivery couriers.
If you want to decorate your parcel, we suggest using two boxes – first your gift box which you can wrap in pretty paper and decorate elaborately, then placing this inside a larger, non-decorated, strong cardboard box – with polystyrene chips or another layer of protective padding in between both boxes.
Also be aware of sending off parcels in the boxes and packaging used to deliver the item to you. When sent direct from a retailer to you, some items are vacuum packed with other parcels to protect them during their delivery journey. This means the packaging might not be strong enough for you to re-send the item on as a Christmas present, so you may have to repackage it or add extra protection.
5. Sending Christmas presents abroad
If you’re sending Christmas presents abroad, there are some extra things you should keep in mind. If the parcel is going to a country within the EU, then you won’t have to complete any extra paperwork.
If your Christmas gifts are being sent to a country outside of the EU, then you will need to complete an additional form – a pro-forma invoice. Completing this form doesn’t have to be a chore, at My Parcel Delivery we’ll provide this for you to fill in when you book an international parcel delivery. You’ll need to print 5 copies of the pro-forma invoice and attached these to the outside of your parcel. These will then be inspected by the customs officers when your parcel arrives in the destination country.
You’ll also need to check the different customs and import charges for each country (try www.dutycalculator.com), because even for items marked as gifts, depending on the value, there could be some customs charges to pay. It’s best to find these out in advance, rather than leave the receiver of the gift with an unwanted bill.
6. Consider compensation cover for expensive items
Most courier services offer a basic level of free compensation cover, this is usually around £20 - £30. This covers you in case the parcel gets lost or damaged (providing the parcel is packaged according to the guidelines and doesn’t contain a restricted or prohibited item).
If your Christmas present is a little more valuable than this, you have the option to take out additional compensation cover up to £1,000.
Another tip is if your item is clearly visible on the packaging, for example a game console that has a picture on the box, it’s best to cover up the item for extra security.
If you need specific advice on sending a parcel, contact us now and we’ll help you choose the right delivery service for your Christmas gifts.
Image Credit - Mandy Jansen via Flickr