Shipping gifts this year? Here are the deadlines

Posted at 12:18 PM, Nov 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-22 12:20:57-05

The United States Postal Service is offering shipping tips and deadlines ahead of the holiday rush.

The Postal Service suggests the following mail-by dates to make sure your package arrives by December 25:

  • Priority Mail Express International - December 14
  • Retail Ground - December 14
  • First-Class Mail - December 19
  • Priority Mail - December 20
  • Priority Mail Express - December 22

The post office will have extended hours on Saturday, December 16 at the following locations:

  • Amherst Branch, 5500 North Bailey Avenue – open until 5 p.m.
  • Buffalo Main Post Office, 1200 William Street – open until 5 p.m.
  • Hamburg Post Office, 500 Camp Road – open until 3 p.m.
  • Niagara Falls LaSalle Station, 9860 Niagara Falls Boulevard – open until 4 p.m.

Self-Service Kiosks can be found at the following locations and are available 24/7:

  • Amherst Branch, 5500 N Bailey Avenue         
  • Cayuga Branch, 285 Cayuga Road                
  • Cheektowaga Branch, 125 Galleria Drive       
  • Northside Station, 725 Hertel Avenue            
  • West Seneca Branch, 4300 Seneca Street     
  • Williamsville Branch, 5423 Sheridan Drive
  • East Amherst Post Office, 9630 Transit Road
  • Getzville Post Office, 2655 Millersport Highway       
  • Grand Island Post Office, 2391 Baseline Road
  • Hamburg Post Office, 5501 Camp Road          
  • Lockport Post Office, 138 East Avenue      
  • Niagara Falls/LaSalle Branch, 9860 Niagara Falls Boulevard
  • Orchard Park Post Office, 60 School Street

How to pack a gift like a pro:
1.     Pick a strong and sturdy box, and tape it closed tightly.
2.     Cushion contents to protect them during transportation, and wrap glass and other fragile items with extra newspaper or packing material.
3.     Place wrapped gift boxes inside a plain larger box.
4.     Remove all batteries from electronics.
5.     Remember to place an extra shipping label inside the box, so the item can be returned in case the box or label gets damaged.
Successful shipping tips:
1.     Print addresses clearly and in CAPS.
2.     Include complete 'to' and 'from' info.
3.     Check usps.com for the correct ZIP Code — never guess.
4.     Put mailing label on the inside of the package, with the contents.
5.     Be sure to label a box as 'FRAGILE' if it needs to be handled with extra care.
6.     Visit usps.com to pay and print postage and schedule a pickup, or drop off your gift for delivery at the Post Office™.
Ship gifts across the globe without leaving home:
1.     Use the Postage Calculator tool on usps.com to check prices and compare options.
2.     Visit usps.com to complete a customs form and pay the postage.
3.     Print your shipping label.
4.     Schedule a free next day Package Pickup, or drop off your gift at your local Post Office.
For letters and cards:
1.     Use sturdy envelopes, especially when inserting gift cards inside.
2.     If sending a gift card, consider sticking an address label on the gift card; if item is separated from envelope it can be recovered for delivery.
3.     Never send cash.