Packaging and mailing stuff for Christmas can really be a breeze, especially if you're savvy about how you do it.
First, pop into your local post office (hopefully yours hasn't been closed), and - get this - skip the lines and go directly to the counter where Priority Mailing boxes are shelved. Pick out an assortment just in case you're not sure which sizes you'll need. Don't worry, they're free, you don't have to check in at the counter or wait in line, and you can feel blissfully smug as you waltz past the frustrated and stressed people waiting in line.
(Now, if you're truly on top of things you can even go online and have the postal carrier deliver your boxes directly to your door - for free, but then again, you'd miss the fun of waltzing past all the frustrated and stressed people waiting in line at the Post Office . . . one must have priorities, after all, and yes, the pun is fully intended.)
Next, go home and happily plunk all your precious Christmas goodies into your free boxes. Once everything is packed nice and snug, go online to USPS.com (or you can click on the direct link here).
Make sure you have the destination selected properly, and then click on the "sign in" link. At this point, you might need to fill out the information for setting up an online account. It only takes a few minutes, and trust me, it's well worth your time. Have a credit card handy for paying for your labels as well.
Next fill out your mailing information. I like to click on the "notify recipient" link so that they know they have a package coming. You can also click on the link that will inform you when your package is delivered.
At the bottom of the page you'll need to list the approximate weight of your package. As long as you are mailing in a flat rate envelope or box, the amount doesn't have to be perfect. You can get a close enough approximation from your bathroom scale.
After that, just follow the links for selecting your flat rate priority box/envelope (or priority mailing stamp if you know the exact weight of your package) and print out your label. Once your printer has printed it out, cut out the label portion (keep the receipt part of the page for your records) and tape it onto your box.
Now here is another great thing about the post office. You can schedule a pick up of your packages for the next day. (Link here). Unless you're in a frantic rush to get your packages to the post office that exact day, just wait a few hours and let your friendly postal carrier get your package for you. On the website you put down how many packages you have and exactly where they'll be so your carrier can find them for you. When he or she does pick them up, they'll leave you a notification so you know the packages were received.
No waiting in long lines! No having to deal with snarky over-worked postal employees who are the verge of going postal!
(Along with asking your carrier to drop off free boxes, you can also order stamps online and have them delivered to your door as well!)