We’re eight weeks out from Christmas, as I’ve been very helpfully reminded by Denyse a few days ago.
That means panic stations for me. I haven’t even thought about Christmas yet and everyone knows that just about every postal service in the world slows to a crawl over the holiday period.
If I want to make sure my two nephews, one niece, my family secret Santa recipient (no hints boys and girls, you’ll never work out who I have!) and dad get their presents on time I’m going to have to think on my feet.
Having lived in a few different countries and across the other side of Australia to my family, I’m getting pretty good at this gifting from far away thing. Here are a few tips:
Get Organised Early
This one is the most obvious, but also your best bet for less stress. I like to have the gifts well out of my hands and in the ether by December 1. That way I feel like there’s time for things to get lost and found again.
There’s something to be said for seeing something cool on your travels and buying it for a future birthday/Christmas pressie. I had both of my sister-in-laws’ birthdays sorted months in advance, so when the time comes, I’m not freaked out at the last minute. And they get things that they might not be able to find in Australia.
If That Fails, Use The Internets
My favourite way to do Christmas is to wait for Click Frenzy to begin. If you don’t already know about it, Click Frenzy amasses a bunch of Aussie retailers on one website for 24 hours of discounts, deals and deliveries.
It’s a win-win situation. You get to buy discounted presents for your friends and family back home, (using the US dollar if you’re so inclined). Most retailers will wrap them for you and dispatch them directly to the home of the recipient!
The next one kicks off on November 15 at 7PM AEST. I like to wake up a few hours earlier than usual and do my shopping then. That way the early rush is over and there’s not so much traffic or system crashes.
Go The Gift Card
There’s nothing worse than rocking up to the USPS office with your stack of gifts only to be slapped with an extra $40 or $60 postage each. Postage will kick your butt every time, so it’s best to keep your gifts of the small and light variety. Here are a few things in mind:
Use the Postage Price Calculator to get an idea of how much you’ll need to cough up.
|Address letters and packages as shown above. Picture: USPS.|
Large Envelopes, known as ‘flats’ these need to meet size requirements and also be relatively flat and malleable otherwise they will be charged as a ‘package’. Must be a maximum of 30.4cm high x 38cm long x 2cm thick x 1.8kg weight.
Packages are endlessly confusing to me so I’m breaking it all down as much as possible here in the hopes of making it understandable.
- Global Express Guaranteed: The most expensive option, but also the fastest. It promises deliver in between one and three business days with a money back guarantee. To give you an idea, a package that weighs anywhere up to 220 grams will set you back $88.75 and a 2.26kg parcel will cost $132.35 to mail. Check out the pricing here (Australia is Price Group 6).
- Priority Mail Express International: Next on the tier guarantees delivery in between three and five business days and free package pick up from wherever you are. It includes tracking and some insurance. A package weighing up to 220 grams costs $62.95 or $89.95 for 2.26kg. More pricing information (Australia is Price Group 10).
- Priority Mail International: By now you’re getting the idea. This package will arrive at its destination in between six and ten days and includes tracking. You also get the benefits of some insurance. A little easier on the hip pocket, you’ll pay $46.50 for anything up to 453 grams, and $64.70 for 2.26kg. Get more pricing info here (Australia is Price Group 10).
- First-Class Mail International and First-Class Package International Service: My personal favourite. It’s the cheapest and a little tricky. Your package or envelope needs to conform to height, length, weight and girth specifications. Your best bet is to go to the price calculator to make sure you’re not paying more than you need to if your package is in an unnecessarily large box.