6 Phases of Getting Ship Done
I’m pretty proud of myself. Last week I shipped all of the holiday gifts to our out-of-state friends and family. This is a first for me because I’m usually scrambling for gifts and then standing in long lines at the post office on multiple trips, sweating. I found a way to beat the post office sweat and actually enjoy the shipping process of our gifts.
Let me first say that I’m no dummy! Of course I know that buying everything online and having everything shipped directly to the recipient is the EASIEST way to get a present delivered. If gift wrapping is available when ordering online, then it’s even EASIER! However, nothing I do is ever easy and Christmas gift shipping is no exception. Years ago, I realized that I found so much joy in collecting little stocking stuffers for my family and friends that now I send those instead of big gifts. This behavior must have something to do with me being obsessed with thoughtful pinches - small gestures of thoughtfulness - not giant ones. So for me, ordering online and having ten $5 gifts shipped to one recipient is not the best way to send stocking stuffers. First, it is inconvenient for the recipient to receive multiple packages for a lip balm and a pair of socks (also not Earth-friendly). Second, it’s tough to justify paying for wrapping when the item costs less than the wrapping fee. Third, it’s hard to ship things online when you buy gifts from a local farmers’ market or an artist. With that said, when I send stocking stuffers, I send an actual stocking stuffed with individually wrapped pinches.
This holiday season, when it came to getting our gifts together so that we could ship them, I went thru a series of six phases which helped me remain sane and saved me money and time.
Phase #1 - I bought stocking stuffers all year long - collecting thoughtful pinches whenever I could. No one says that you have to buy your holiday gifts between Halloween and December 25th. I started as soon as I could.
Phase #2 - After Thanksgiving I glittered up the stockings that I was going to fill with the stocking stuffers. I felt that personalizing the stockings made me focus and it made my gift list concrete. Not to mention it was therapeutic and I felt crafty - a feeling I don’t experience much these days. All it took was Elmer’s Glue and glitter.
Phase #3 - When the glitter names on the stockings were completely dry, I made piles of the pinches that I had been collecting throughout the year and placed the items with the corresponding stockings so I could visually see what I bought for each person. This was such a key step in the process because I usually “monster shop” which means I buy mass quantities without specific recipients in mind, then go back out shopping to buy more stuff before taking inventory. That gift-buying method had a few glitches: First, I always bought too much and rather than going back to the store to return the items I didn’t need, I would just find people to give the gift to instead. Second, this means I would over-spend and give to those who weren’t originally on the gift list. Meanwhile, the last glitch of this method was the lack of originality for each stocking. Since I would buy in bulk or mass quantities, nothing would be unique in each stocking.
Phase #4 - One afternoon, after I had most of the items truly mapped out to each recipient, I had a massive wrapping session. When I stuffed the stockings with the wrapped gifts it was easy see if I still needed to buy more. I took notes to help me stay focused after I became aware that some stockings still needed more thoughtful pinches. The notes streamlined my shopping agenda which then saved me time and money.
Phase #5 - Everything had been wrapped, stuffed and finally placed in shipping boxes. Before I sealed it up, I made sure to include this year’s family Christmas card. This may sound like a no-brainer, but I almost always forget this phase and then I have to mail the card separately. Argh! Not only is it a little bit of a hassle but it’s a little bit of an added cost (even though it’s less than fifty cents - it adds up!).
Phase #6 - This year, the post office trip was not a sweaty experience. It didn’t take much time for my transactions because each package was simple to process since I used the complimentary “flat-rate” boxes (it doesn’t matter how heavy it is, the price stays the same). Plus, by mailing the packages early, I knew I had plenty of time for each recipient to receive their packages. In fact, some have already opened their gifts!! Success!
Again, I know that there are EASIER ways to get ship done. For example, have the post office come to you by having pre-paid postage on packages so that the mail carrier picks them up at your house. This year I tried a different approach for getting the gifts out in time and I enjoyed myself so much that there wasn’t a need for an easier experience. The six phases of our stocking-stuffer-gift-giving was really fun for me. Even the shipping!