UPS Christmas packaging: How to make sure gifts arrive on time

JACKSONVILLE; Fla. – Christmas is a little more than two weeks away, and the clock is ticking to get your gifts in the mail.

This year, the holiday falls on a Sunday, so the Postal Service, FedEx and UPS will not be open that day -- or the Monday after -- so it’s more important than ever to get your packages in the mail early.

If you want your gifts to arrive at your loved ones’ homes before Christmas, UPS warns you have to pay attention to many factors.

There are a few common mistakes people make while packing boxes that keep them from being loaded on trucks, and missing a deadline isn’t the only thing.

Things to remember

  • Try to use a new box
  • Avoid one that’s flimsy or falling apart
  • Make sure to use new labels on any package
  • Cover up any old ones or scratch them out using a marker
  • Make sure you double, even triple-check the address.
  • Also, make sure to check holiday deadlines now. They are different, depending on who you ship with.

RELATED: Holiday guide: 2022 shipping deadlines — Last days to ship gifts

One mistake can cause a significant delay, according to Jack Steiger who’s the preload manager at UPS in Baymeadows.

“If you did not put the correct address on there, you are going to waste time because now we’re going to send it back to the shipper that it came from,” Steiger said. “If you do have the return address in the corner, and we will send it back. Then we will resend it to you. It is a three-to-five-day transit. So, you just lost going back and coming back. That can definitely hinder the issue of on-time service.”

Handling the rush

News4JAX got an inside look Thursday at how delivery companies handle all the demand this time of year.

Thousands of packages move throughout the UPS Baymeadows facility every day, and the volume doubles during peak season -- Oct. 15-Jan. 15 -- which means there is a need for more workers.

“We hire well in advance to make sure our employees receive the proper training,” UPS business manager Zack Addair said. “That really sets us up for success during peak season.”

Amanda and Whitney Leedur are UPS veterans.

Amanda and Whitney Leedur are UPS veterans. (WJXT)

They are not only married but marking their third year making deliveries together.

Amanda loads the truck and Whitney drives.

“We actually both love our jobs,” Amanda said. “UPS is talked about constantly at home, outside of work. We are best friends. Working together is great.”

“We make it fun,” Whitney said. “It is never boring. We get along great, and that makes it great.”

The packages pass through the processing center. They go through automated scanners to determine where their final destinations are.

Carly Harman started as a seasonal worker last year and basically never left. This is her career now.

“I loved it. It is fast-paced,” Harman said. “I came from the medical field, which was really fast-paced. This right here is perfect. I like to stay busy.”

UPS managers say this is the fifth year straight the company is leading the industry in on-time delivery during peak season.

Planning ahead, hiring and training workers efficiently to prep for the rush are the main goals to remain effective.

“The planning takes place a year in advance,” said UPS division manager Yhormith Roberts said. “For example, in the month of November 2022, we are already planning for what is going to happen in 2023.”

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