Gift-Giving and the Economic Crunch

October 20, 2009

(NewsUSA) – During the holiday season, the down economy
doesn't have to mean poor spirits. Sure, airlines have raised ticket prices and started charging
for everything from checked bags to peanuts, but Americans can still find – and ship – perfect
gifts on small budgets.

Creative holiday gifts seem to be the way to go this season. Artsy types can create
beautiful crafts – like plush animals and beaded jewelry – from home. Less-skilled Americans can
use online auction and price-comparison Web sites to find steals.

However, getting gifts from point A to B can be challenging. Holiday travellers might
resist paying to check bags filled with gifts. Some families might stay at home to avoid high fuel

Shipping gifts makes the most sense for cash-strapped Americans. Even people who are
booked on flights can ship packages for less money than it takes to check their bags.

Pak Mail (, a full-service packing,
shipping and crating franchise with locations nationwide, offers these tips for less expensive,
safer shipping:

-Think ahead. The holidays arrive at the same time every year, so there's no reason
to let them take you by surprise. Ship items early to avoid expensive rush deliveries. If you are
traveling, mail your packages to your destination before you take your flight. You will bypass
extra security lines and checked bag fees.

-Consolidate your gifts. Your brother and his children still live under the same roof,
so put their individual gifts into one large box. Sending one 20-pound box costs less money than
sending two 10-pound boxes.

-Comparison shop. Different carriers offer different rates. Get a few quotes before
you commit to a company. Some shipping centers, like Pak Mail, will ship packages using any of
several carriers, so customers have options when it comes to finding lower rates.

-Ship safely. Check hazardous material restrictions, packaging guidelines and weight
requirements to ensure that carriers can ship your items. Put extra address labels in your boxes in
case one label becomes damaged and unreadable.

-Hire the professionals. Strangely-shaped or fragile gifts might require custom