BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Christmas is just around the corner. This means it’s time to start shipping gifts to your loved ones.

The United States Postal Service has confidence that anything you want to send will arrive on time… if you meet the deadlines.

The busiest mailing, shipping, and delivery week is December 12-17. The U.S. Postal Service says they’ve been preparing for this holiday season since the beginning of this year.

They expect nearly 400 million people to ship packages through its system from now until New Year’s Day.

All shipping carriers also emphasize how important it is to be correct with spelling and numbers. The holidays are not the time to make mistakes that could delay delivery. If you don’t know the zip code, officials recommend looking it up or leaving it off.

Lastly, the postal service suggests packing smart and purchasing insurance. With an influx of packages and things being mailed at a faster pace, there’s a risk of things being broken or lost.

“Recycled boxes, which aren’t a good idea when it comes to the mail because you want your box to hold up during mail delivery. Because think about it, I mean there are other boxes that it’s next to or on top of, so if you don’t use a new box it could easily collapse,” said David Walton, Spokesperson for the U.S. Postal Service.

All carriers emphasize mailing your packages early and suggest checking rate increases for holiday shipping. Every year, major carriers increase their shipping rates during the holiday season.

Carriers suggest using a rating advisor to compare which carrier has the best shipping rates for you. To save some additional money, have all of the shipping supplies you need handy to avoid paying for shipping materials at the carrier store.

These are the recommended send-by dates to ensure delivery by Christmas Day.

United States Postal Service (USPS)

  • Ground Service and First-Class — Dec. 17
  • Priority Mail — Dec. 19
  • Priority Express — Dec. 23

FedEx

  • Ground economy — Dec. 8
  • Ground contiguous, Alaska and Hawaii — Dec. 14
  • Express Saver — Dec. 20
  • Express 2Day — Dec. 21
  • Express SameDay — Dec. 23

FedEx has additional information on its website.

UPS

  • Ground shipping — Use this calculator
  • Three-Day Select — Dec. 20
  • Second-Day Air — Dec. 21
  • Next-Day Air — Dec. 22

Information on shipping to other countries and the services available on the days around Christmas and the New Year here.

Walton says priority mail service is the best option for many reasons: flat rate, free tracking, insurance is included, boxes are free, send up to 70lbs, and your package should deliver in one to three days.

Additional Tips and Information for Shipping

  • Extended hours in select cities
  • Deliver to every address
  • Don’t leave your mail in your mailbox overnight
  • Don’t deposit your letter into a dropbox after pick-up times (take it inside)
  • Don’t mail cash
  • If no one is home use the “Hold Mail” service
    • Have it held at a local post office
    • Request signature confirmation
      • The person has to be home to receive the package
  • The average delivery time for U.S.P.S is 2.5 days
  • Don’t put the wrong zip code
    • Leave it off or look it up
    • Stick a duplicate note with the address inside the package
      • Just in case the original packaging is damaged