Sending Holiday Gifts Back Home? Here’s What To Know

By December 15, 2020 February 24th, 2021 uLink Blog
A person wearing red mittens holding a Christmas gift wrapped in brown craft paper with a twine ribbon

In a year of restriction and separation, gift-giving has seldom been more important. That’s especially true if your family lives abroad. 

Studies show decreasing international travel has led to a sharp rise in the number of people shipping gifts internationally. 

That leaves just one problem: making sure your gifts make it home to your family for Christmas. 

If you’re worried about sending gifts overseas, you’re not alone. Over 88% of consumers are concerned their packages will arrive late (or won’t be delivered at all).

Here are quick tips to help ensure your gifts arrive safe and sound by December 25th.

Important Shipping Deadlines

Everything takes longer during the holidays, especially during COVID-19. As Kim Frum, USPS senior representative said, “Every year, we urge customers to ship early and that is especially important this year.”

The mailing system has been severely stressed since mid-March, and retailers remain under major pressure to oversee a smooth holiday season. 

Whichever occasion you’re celebrating, shop early and ship immediately. As soon as you find your family’s gifts, wrap them up and put them in the mail.

After all, there’s no worse feeling than learning your gifts barely arrived before New Year’s. 

Here are the three major carriers’ holiday shipping dates and deadlines. 

FedEx

If you’re shipping to Mexico, Canada, or Puerto Rico, FedEx promises Christmas delivery if you ship “International Economy” by December 21st. They also guarantee overnight delivery on gifts sent by December 23rd via International Priority Mail.

For last-minute needs, you can also ship via their “International Next Flight” option on December 24th and still have it delivered in time. 

Click here for the full breakdown of December shipping dates to Mexico, Canada, and Puerto Rico. 

For specific rates and transit times to other countries, click here

And if you’d like to avoid long lines and stay at home, you can set up a FedEx pickup right from your computer or smartphone. Click here to get started. 

UPS

Want to ship to Mexico or Canada with the most affordable option from UPS? Make sure your package is dropped off by December 16th, and UPS will guarantee its arrival by Christmas. 

If you need additional time (and don’t mind paying a little extra), you can also use UPS Worldwide Express until December 22nd. For a complete breakdown of products and deadlines, click here

If you’re shipping outside of Mexico and Canada, use the UPS quote form to get specific international delivery information. 

And to schedule an at-home pickup, click here

USPS

While the United States Postal Service does not officially ship to international residential addresses, they do deliver to all army, air, fleet, and diplomatic post offices overseas.

If you have a family member in the armed forces, USPS allows you to ship them packages at domestic rates. They’ll even provide free military shipping kits and free package pickup when you’re ready to send. 

Click here for detailed information regarding shipments to all military and diplomatic addresses. 

4 Extra Tips to Keep In Mind:

Make Sure Your Gift is Allowed

Believe it or not, some countries have strange laws against certain toys and trinkets. 

Here are some bizarre (but true!) examples:

  • You can’t send wristwatches to China
  • You can’t send any toys or dolls to Peru
  • You can’t send musical cards to Bulgaria
  • You can’t send remote-controlled toys to India
  • You can’t send chewing gum to Singapore

While it’s unlikely your gifts will be rejected by local import laws, be sure to double check in case you’re sending something a bit obscure. You can use this USPS resource to research any potential prohibitions by country.  

And if you’d like to read more about strange international shipping laws, click here

Pack Your Items With Care

This may sound obvious, but it can’t be overstated: take the time to carefully wrap and pack your gift before sending it abroad. 

Be sure to pick a sturdy box and pad any of the gaps with foam or bubble wrap. Even if the item isn’t especially breakable, you can always add a “fragilelabel to encourage the carrier to handle it with care. 

If your gifts are fragile (and likely to be damaged), consider paying extra for insurance coverage. You won’t regret it. 

Accurately Weigh & Measure Your Package

While FedEx and UPS make it convenient to ship items internationally, it’s important that you accurately weigh and measure your packages. 

For example, if you choose for UPS to pick-up your package and the courier finds your stated dimensions or weight are incorrect, they may refuse to ship it. Or, they may charge you extra than you had first thought.   

Cover your bases, and prevent any unexpected shipping delays.

Send Money Home

Why stress over shipping gifts abroad when you can send money or pay for bills of your family back home with uLink?

It’s an easy, fast, and reliable way to send your wishes home for the holidays. 

Plus, after your 1st, 2nd, and 5th transactions, we’ll send you a $10 gift card to use at your favorite retailers. That’s $30 in gift cards after your first five transactions with uLink. 

Miles from home — just moments away with uLink. 

Send Money Now!

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