Holiday Packaging Tips: A Box Opens Up

Dear Shipper,

Hi. Shipping Box writing to you here. It's the holiday shipping season and once again, UPS expects to deliver millions and millions of packages worldwide. Help make sure I don't get lost or damaged by following the tips below and preparing me for peak shipping conditions.

Holiday Shipping Resources

Pick the Right Box

packing box

The more a box is used, the more it loses its original protective qualities and may not adequately protect your shipment. In fact, a crease can reduce a box's strength by up to 70 percent. So start me off strong and use a new or almost new corrugated cardboard box.

If you must reuse a box, make sure it's rigid and in excellent condition with no punctures, tears, rips, or corner damage, and that all flaps are intact. Shoeboxes, gift boxes, or other paperboard boxes are not recommended. The journey to my destination can be quiet the triathlon, especially during the busy season. I'll need to be packaged in something that can safely weather the trip.

Be sure to remove old labels and completely blot out markings with a black marker, too. I could get routed to a different destination if a scanner reads old information.

Finally, save money by making sure you use a box that's just the right size. Using a box that's larger than you need means you're wasting packaging and spending too much on shipping.

Provide Internal Protection


During UPS's peak shipping season, millions upon millions of packages are moving through the UPS network, so things get a little crowded for me.

Keep my contents from rattling about during my trip. The goal is to use enough cushioning material to keep my cargo secure so be sure to:

  • Individually wrap items. Each item should be surrounded by at least two inches of cushioning and be placed two inches or more away from the walls of the box.
  • Provide proper padding. Good cushioning options for lightweight items include bubble wrap, air bags, and loose fill peanuts. For light to medium weight items, tightly crumpled brown kraft paper is a better option than newspaper.

Note: Fragile objects such as electronics, glass, ceramics, and artwork, require special packaging for safe shipment. Talk to someone at your local The UPS Store® to learn about other cushioning options.

Close Me Up Securely


Help me keep my contents to myself. Use a strong tape like packaging tape or nylon reinforced filament tape that's two inches or more in width.

Apply three strips to the top and bottom flaps of the box where the seams meet.

Sealing me securely is my next line of defense after a strong box and proper cushioning.

Use Proper Labeling

packing label

Finally, I need ID. My shipping label should be placed on top of a flat surface and include both your name (the shipper) and the recipient's name and complete address information on one label. Using separate address labels could cause confusion.

If you are using a packaging slip, place it on the same surface as the address label. It's also good practice to place a duplicate address label inside my packaging, just in case.

For international shipments, include both shipper and recipient contact names and telephone numbers. I'm going to be in foreign lands. Make sure I have someone I can call if I need to.

Note: If you have to ship to a P.O. Box address, the recipient's telephone number must be included in the label. P.O. Box deliveries may be delayed, are not covered by any UPS Service Guarantee, and require an address correction charge. Army Post Office (APO) and Fleet Post Office (FPO) addresses are not accepted.

Happy holiday shipping season,
A Shipping Box Ready for the World

Stay informed. Sign up for our emails.
Subscribe to UPS emails.

Email Examples

Sign up for email offers, insights, and industry news that can help improve your shipping. You can manage your preferences at any time.

News and Insights to help you ship smarter

Service Updates to alert you to severe weather and events impacting operations

Promotions and Offers to help you get the most for your money

Product News to keep you up-to-date on new services, tools, and features