Monday, October 26, 2015

12 Weeks of Christmas: Prepping Packages for the Post

Time is ticking away and mail deadlines are looming for many of you (and me!) to get holiday parcels in the post to family and friends overseas. When wrapping presents that will eventually end up in the post, simple is best.  I know - we all LOVE pretty presents (more on that later in the 12 Weeks of Christmas mini-series), but being packaged up and transiting through the mail is tough on delicate embellishments and if your parcel is opened for a customs or quarantine check, it will all be for naught anyway, no matter how carefully you pad the parcel.  If size and weight aren't prohibitive, reusable fabric, like baby blankets (a personal favourite), scarves, or tea-towels are green(er) alternatives to wrapping paper and add an extra layer of cushioning.  For more traditional paper wrapping (ripping is such fun), you can still wrap a beautiful present in a nice flat wrapping paper, with a flat tag or card and/or string/ribbon. Here are some cute DIY gift wrapping ideas:

From upper left:

If you don't have a return address stamp (I am always drooling over the pretty custom address stamps on Etsy...but we move so often I have never bought one myself) and loathe the idea of handwriting all of your envelopes and parcels,you can always whip up some custom labels.  If you aren't keen to start from scratch, most label companies offer free templates for their products (online by product number) that you can customise and print. World Label (not an affiliate link, just sharing!) really stands out in this department for partnering with some great designers to bring you really cool freebie templates for their products.  When addressing by hand, use a good ink that won't rub off or smudge in transit (especially if headed to a wet or snowy destination).  It goes without saying that any parcels should be well-wrapped and securely sealed.

Planning Tips:
  • Check your local postal service website for their recommended send-by dates for parcel, air, and letter mail.
  • It can be helpful to know the weight and size thresholds for your postal service when planning your holiday shopping list.  Postage, especially international airmail, can jump significantly at these points.
  • It is also handy to check the "card only" dimensions and keep that in mind when picking/making your Christmas cards, especially if your country has discounted holiday card postage rates.
  • If you are sending presents internationally and aren't familiar with the destination, many postal services share information on postal/import restrictions on their websites as well.
  • Check the customs limitations and policies for the destinations.  Nothing sucks more than unexpectedly having to pay duty when collecting your gift at the post office.  I learned this lesson when my parents once had to pay duty on their holiday parcel.  I reimbursed them, of course, but it would have been much better if that was offered up front instead of after the fact! Always fill in your customs declarations honestly. No matter what.
Have fun crafting and creating, and we hope that you will join us again next Monday for the 12 Weeks of Creative Christmas mini-series.  Looking for more creative ideas in the interim? You can search the blog under the DIY type of your preference or join us on Pinterest for fab creative pins from here, there and everywhere! If you make something fabulous or post something special, you are always welcome to share here in the comments or post to our page at Creativity Unmasked on Facebook. We are all about sharing so, on our page, a little bit of self shout-out is actively encouraged. 

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