You’re a smart one. You’ve done all your shopping. You’ve finished all your wrapping and packing.

Now it’s time to send out all those gifts. Santa’s elves are here again, teaming up with The Packaging Company, to give you some festive advice on how to finish off all your holiday present shipping.

Watch that Holiday Calendar

Before anything else, you need to know your shipping dates. The Christmas holidays are always a hectic time, and mail carriers will be even busier than they are during the rest of the year. If you’re not careful, you can easily miss your window for making sure presents arrive on time.

In Canada and the States, it’s usually safe to use regular delivery for domestic parcels and cards up until the middle of December. Past then, you’ll need to use priority or expedited shipping for things to arrive on time. If your gifts are going international, you’ll need to send them out by mid-November. Some far-away locations may even require you to ship things out as early as late October!

Also, be aware that mail carriers have daily shipping volumes. Not everything goes out at once. Some online businesses have agreed-upon daily shipping numbers and so do civilian parcels. Make sure to give yourself some lead time in case it’s delayed by a day or two.

Watch what’s Inside

Are you mailing out something perishable (like those triple-chocolate cookies whose recipe you keep top secret)? Ship on Mondays, Tuesdays or Wednesdays, and make sure you use overnight delivery. Thursday and Friday shipments can run the risk of an extended weekend delivery. That means they could sit in very hot or cold conditions for days and ruin those delicious goods. And don’t forget to double up on the packaging. Nothing’s worse than opening a box and seeing broken cookies staring back at you.

What if your gift is something extra valuable or fragile? Seriously consider paying for priority shipping. Not only can you ship it a little closer to Christmas, but the extra protection and security can do it a world of good.

Watch that Scale

Keep an eye on your gift and its packaging. Shipping is charged by dimensional weight (the outside box dimensions and total weight). A few ounces can mean the difference between saving a few bucks and having to pay a lot more.

Find ways to make the packaging for your gift as small as possible. Use the smallest box you can. Try a bubble mailer instead. Ship multiple small items going to one house in one mailer instead of several. You’ll use less packaging, fewer mailers, and spend less on shipping.

Pack like Santa’s Elves

You want to make sure your gift arrives safe and sound. Packing peanuts, bubble cushion and kraft paper are all great options. Simply wrap up the present a bit, or put it in the box and fill up the empty spaces around it.

While you’re at it, add some extra cheer inside. Use colorful tissue paper. Wrap the present up in Christmas paper. Write a funny or heartfelt card. Maybe drop in some candies or an extra gift card. Only your imagination is the limit.

Wrap like Santa’s Elves

Your gift’s properly packed and it’s almost ready to send. But first, let’s take care of the outside of the box.

Securely tape the flaps using packing tape. The colored kind can really make it festive. And make sure the address labels are together on the same side. Clear packing tape will help protect them from damage during shipping.

Don’t forget to add some finishing touches, like drawing snowmen and reindeer on the box. You may even have a place for some ribbon and a bow.

Whether it’s jewelry, toys, or your super-secret triple-chocolate cookies, The Packaging Company has what you’ll need to pack your presents right. With these shipping tips, we hope you’ll save yourself from standing in long lines or spending too much on delivery.

Now go make yourself some hot chocolate, you’ve earned it.