U.S. Postal Service offers shipping tips

The U.S. Postal Service has tips on holiday shipping, including when to mail to make sure gifts arrive on time.

Postal officials recommend mailing by the following dates to ensure that a gift arrives on time: Wednesday for parcel post, the most economical shipping service; Dec. 20 for first-class mail; Dec. 21 for priority mail; Dec. 22 for express mail.

Postal officials also remind shippers to make sure their packages can withstand processing without the contents or packaging breaking.

Cushion items with bubble wrap, newspaper or "foam peanuts."

Postal officials also recommend putting an extra address label with the delivery and return address inside the package in case the outside label is damaged or falls off, and to make sure the complete address with zip code is used.

They also say shippers should include a return address in case the mail cannot be delivered.