So, what’s the proper way to send gifts to people who live states away that you won’t see for the holidays? What I really mean is whether or not to wrap the present and then ship the wrapped present (which you have to put in another brown box before shipping).
Dear States Away:
Whatever you decide, if you’re shopping for Christmas and you want your gifts to arrive before December 25, get started NOW. Everyone knows that the Most Wonderful Time of the Year is also the Busiest Time of Year for the United States Postal Service and all the other delivery services. The closer you get to Christmas, the chance of your package(s) arriving in time decreases and the risk of them Getting Lost or Damaged in the Shuffle increases. And a lost or damaged package increases the risk of Lapses in Perfect Propriety. The USPS deadline for first-class and priority mail is December 20, but why wait until then? Don’t delay!
Now Etiquetteer is One of Those People who believe in the element of Surprise at the holidays. So wrapping a gift before mailing it helps keep a gift a surprise. If you’re no good at wrapping a gift perfectly - and let’s face it, That Mr. Dimmick fails on that account every year - at least add a ribbon or a bow to make an effort toward Perfect Festivity. If you’re ordering from a catalog, often they charge extra to gift-wrap purchases. Consult your overall budget before making that decision. If you can, it’s a Perfectly Proper touch.
In the 21st century, with so many opportunities for instant communication, it’s helpful to let your gift recipients know that they should expect a package from you, and with the instruction that wrapped gifts “are not to be opened until December 25.”
Etiquetteer also believes that it’s Good Manners not to let gift recipients know how much you spent. When mailing a package yourself, you have much more assurance that the gift is wrapped without the receipt. Opinion is sharply divided on this subject, as so very many people want to provide gift receipts to guard against the Need for Exchange. Etiquetteer doesn’t really like it, but does have to acknowledge that a gift receipt often helps when gifts are given at a distance.
Lastly, and you probably already know this, if you’re sending a breakable gift, don’t skimp on the stuffing. Whether you prefer actual popcorn, Styrofoam peanuts, or traditional excelsior, pack your breakable gift with plenty of it both in the gift box and the shipping box.
Etiquetteer wishes you success and timely delivery in your efforts to spread the Spirit of the Holiday of Your Choice to Absent Friends!