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Company websites also offer valuable tips on how to wrap and properly package gifts to ensure they arrive at their destination in one piece.asife/iStockPhoto / Getty Images

A whopping 81 per cent of Canadians are planning to do their holiday shopping online this festive season, according to a survey from FedEx. In anticipation of a flood of deliveries, major courier companies and Canada Post are asking customers to shop and ship early if they want their gifts to reach loved ones before the holidays.

“We’re calling this season ‘The Shipathon,’” says Lisa Lisson, FedEx Express Canada’s president, who adds the pandemic has fuelled the increase in e-commerce. Pre-COVID, FedEx projected the U.S. domestic market would hit 100-million packages per day by 2026. The market is now expected to hit this mark by 2023. The same jump holds true for Canada.

To ensure there are no disappointments, it’s important to familiarize yourself with guaranteed delivery cut-off dates, all of which are readily available on each company’s website. Canada Post, for instance, has a deadline of Dec. 13 for expedited parcels across the country and Dec. 21 for its Canada Post Priority, which is next business-day delivery. Purolator, FedEx and UPS say customers who want next-day shipments to arrive by Dec. 24 should ship no later than Dec. 22.

These companies’ websites also offer valuable tips on how to wrap and properly package gifts to ensure they arrive at their destination in one piece. Fragile items, for instance, should be wrapped individually with cushioning, whether it’s newspaper, bubble wrap or tissue paper, around each piece. Double-boxing is also strongly recommended for fragile items to minimize breakage. If you’re sending art, another tip is to place a strong piece of cardboard on the front and back of picture frames, surrounded by padding, to reduce pressure on the glass.

Gift or shoe boxes should be placed in a corrugated outer box. Apply at least three strips of packaging tape to the top and bottom sides of the container using the H-taping method. Go for the heavy-duty stuff; masking tape and scotch tape should not be used. Make sure the address and/or shipping label is on the most visible part of the container, away from any folds or seams.

Each website also has helpful tips for packaging in the most eco-friendly way. For example, recycled brown paper is a better option than traditional wrapping paper. A 2017 study by environmental group Zero Waste Canada found 540,000 tonnes of wrapping paper – the equivalent of the weight of 100,000 elephants – ends up in landfills following the holidays.

Another alternative is to wrap presents in a Christmas tea towel or used pieces of fabric, tied up neatly with eco-friendly twine made from jute, hemp or sisal.

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