How To Package Christmas

To paraphrase John Lennon… so this is Christmas, and what have you done? You’ve bruised your thumbs buying Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, worn your shoes out trailing round department stores or even had a crafty Christmas making lovely homemade gifts. Now you need to make sure they arrive with friends and relatives, on time, in perfect condition.

ParcelHero wants everyone to #senditwithlove this Christmas so here are some great do’s and don’ts for packaging up Christmas gifts for international shipping and your friends and family here in the UK.

Find a box…
You are going to need a nicely sized robust box to ship your Christmas gifts. Most carriers recommend a new box but you can re-use a box if it is in good shape. You have probably got a few boxes lying around from your online shopping which can be reused or packaging manufacturers sell dedicated boxes for eg. golf clubs or vinyl LPs. You can pick these up online in no time at all. Corrugated cardboard provides more protection than a standard cardboard box.


… Or two
If you are reusing an old box, or if you have particularly fragile items, grab another box (a shoe box is always useful here) for double security. This can be used, as we explain below, to add extra layers of protection for your gifts. Whatever old box you use, make sure you remove or cover any old labels or barcodes – we don’t want to confuse the courier!

TAPEPackaging materials
Now all you need is some strong packing tape, packaging chips or bubble wrap (ideally both) and a bit of time. Once again if you have been getting deliveries from the likes of Amazon, hang on to any useful insulation to reuse when you send your gifts on. Most carriers recommend you use dedicated packing tape at least 2inches wide. Masking tape or household Scotch or cellotape won’t be strong enough. Better safe than sorry is our motto.


Christmas wrapping
As we expect you are, if you are wrapping presents in lovely festive paper, please don’t wrap the exterior of the package you are shipping with Christmas wrapping paper. This can easily be damaged and torn in transit.


Use a gift bag
If you are sending abroad, it is possible goods may be examined by customs officials so to play it safe we recommend you use a gift bag (inside your outer box packaging) which can be opened, and closed, without damaging your carefully and thoughtful created gift presentation.

perfume2Flammable materials
Remember when you send a parcel abroad, you cannot send anything flammable. That includes alcohol, aftershave and perfume. Please bear this in mind as these are popular Christmas gifts. For further information on what you can and can’t send click here


Electronic devices
Tablets are high on many Christmas gifts lists this year. If you are sending electronic devices such as a tablet, smartphone, laptop or Kindle, there are specific regulations about sending the batteries:

  • The battery must be housed within the device. Otherwise it is classified as hazardous.
  • The maximum number of batteries in any package is: two
  • Allow an additional 24-48 hours for customs clearance
  • If shipping to the USA, customs require a Frequency Control Certificate (FCC Form) in addition to standard customs documentation. ParcelHero® customer services can advise on this.


Sending batteries
If you are sending kids’ toys or battery powered Christmas gifts, remove the batteries to avoid the item moving, buzzing or ticking while in transit. This could even cause a security alert if the package appears suspicious. Standard alkaline, nickel metal hydride (NiMH) or nickel cadmium (NiCd) batteries can be included in your parcel if they are in their original packaging and surrounded with protective cushioning material such as bubble wrap.


Sending food
A number of countries also have restrictions on sending food items, especially perishable goods. If you are planning to send a festive mini hamper or those scrumptious home-made biscuits, please contact ParcelHero® customer services for expert advice on restrictions for sending food items to a particular country.


Fragile or special items
If you are sending something particularly fragile or even antique, check with the retailer or get some expert advice on packaging. For example, ceramics should be given extra bubble wrap insulation while porcelain or china should be wrapped in acid-free tissue paper to avoid any discolouration. If you are sending a lamp or similar item, please remove the bulb and protect separately. If you want extra insurance against damage to stationary or anything that will be damaged by moisture, add a bin bag layer to your inner packaging.


Get Packing
Once you have anything ready, start packaging. As above, where advised, individually wrap and insulate the various items and place in your box with the maximum amount of cushioning (bubble wrap, Styrofoam packaging chips or scrunched up paper). Your inner item, or items, should not move around and should not touch the outer walls of your box. If you are using a second box, just repeat this process, making sure your inner box is suspended correctly.


Seal your package
When sealing up your box, especially if it is a reused one, FedEx recommends an H-taping pattern where tape is applied across flaps and seams to both the top and bottom of the outer box. Common-sense also applies here – make sure all seams and joins are robustly secured with criss-cross taping and please don’t use string or ribbon on the exterior.

Labels and addresses
Place an extra duplicate copy of your shipping labels inside the package as a precaution against any damage to the package exterior in transit. Write the delivery address and your ‘sender’s address’ on the outside of the package. If there is any damage to your package label, the courier will have a secondary reference for delivery and collection addresses.


Choose a fast, reliable courier
All that effort deserves good delivery. With a big spike in parcel deliveries at this time of year, you want the reassurance of a good courier. The last thing you want is any old ‘man-in-a-van’ chucking it over the fence. ParcelHero will #senditwithlove for you this Christmas at up to 70% less than using the Post Office. You have done the hard work, now sit back and let ParcelHero do the rest. For more expert festive help and delivery tips, check out our Christmas pages.

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