Tips and Tricks For Shipping Gifts
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With the seasons changing, it is the time when buying the perfect present to stick under the Christmas tree can become a little bit of a challenge, especially when you are shipping them internationally or domestically. Before sending your gifts on their way to Canada or even the US, there are many things to consider, from documentation to duty, taxes, wrapping and freight services.

According to The Retail Council of Canada (RCC), “This year, Canadians are planning more in-person celebrations, are anticipating spending more time searching and buying in physical stores, and foresee laying out C$790 on holiday purchases – about the same as last year – despite financial challenges.”
The Deloitte holiday retail survey forecasts the holiday spending in the US to match 2021 levels with an estimate of the expenditure at $1,455 per consumer. They state, “Shoppers are warming up to in-person shopping, with 35% of the budget being spent in-store, up from a low of 28% in 2020.”

Following Customs regulations and guidelines before and after shipping a gift will help to ensure that you and the recipient, formally referred to by Customs as the ‘Importer of Record,’ won’t be faced with penalties and fees upon collecting the gift and years after that if it gets sold. 

We want to share tips and tricks for shipping gifts that will help save you additional time, stress and money, which everyone hates to waste, particularly during this gift-giving holiday season. 

Tips For Shipping Gifts  

Picking out a present can be laborious, accompanied by gift limits and import tax on gifts regulated by federal governments making the entire process more taxing. Shipping gifts require more work on the senders' side to ensure things go smoothly. Preparation is the key to getting the presents you want into the hands of those you love without the additional hassle. 

Unsolicited gifts require clearing customs and payment of all applicable duties and taxes. The gift receiver will not be responsible for paying customs charges as they would not have been responsible for completing the customs entry.  Items including chocolates, candy and other food products require extended review by a Partner Government Agency (PGA).

  • Tip 1: Whether you are shipping gifts to Canada or the US, you must ensure that your shipments contain a card or message attached to prove it is a gift. Additionally, you should ensure that all goods are declared; this includes gifts that are either shipped by you or to you. 
  • Tip 2: The shipped gift items need to be clearly labeled on the shipping documents as a ‘Gift’ along with detailed descriptions of each present in the shipping box. These steps will help to emphasize the reason for the entry of shipment as well as additional proof that the gifts imported do not intend to be sold for monetary income, which could subject you to incurred taxes. 

Tricks For Wrapping Shipped Gifts 

Shipped gifts should be sent in shipping boxes, even if the present is wrapped in gift paper. Unwrapping multiple layers of paper to get to your gift can be very exciting. Besides wrapping paper and cardboard boxes providing an extra level of anticipation, packaging shipping gifts accurately will help to ensure goods remain undamaged during the transporting process. 

Materials needed for wrapping these gifts include wrapping paper, tape, styrofoam pebbles, a cardboard box to fit your gift inside once wrapped, bubble wrap and extra touches like bows and ribbons to make it more memorable.

  • Trick 1: Using wallpaper to wrap your gifts is not only creative but also thicker than wrapping paper and will protect your gift even more during shipping.
  • Trick 2: If you send multiple gifts, ensure that you wrap each gift individually and place it inside the box; this will make it easier to identify the number of items and contents when shipments go through Customs inspections. If Customs cannot identify the content clearly, they will open your package to determine the box's contents, which could ruin the wrapping you worked so hard on.
  • Trick 3: Ensure a protective layer is placed under the wrapped gifts when packing your shipping box. Filling boxes with styrofoam pebbles at the bottom, around, and on top of the gift inside the cardboard box will prevent the items from moving around during shipment, leading to damaged goods. 
Statista indicated, “The market value of gift wrapping products in the United States was forecast to reach a value of just over seven billion U.S. dollars by 2025”.

The Process Of Shipping Gifts 

Now that your gift is picked out and wrapped, the steps to follow will involve shipping your gift to Canada or the US. Shipping gifts using a courier or delivery service will help eliminate the stress of importing and exporting gifts. Before sending your present, you need to fill out a declaration form indicating what the gift is and who it is for; this step is less of a challenge when having a customs broker help guide you through the process. 

Sending a gift sooner rather than later will ensure that possible delays caused at Customs won’t subject your gift to late arrivals. When shipping a gift internationally, it is advised to understand and review the regulations and requirements specifically of the import and export countries. Failing to understand these regulations and conditions could lead to a hefty penalty upon collection of the gift for the receiver.

Plenty of courier services provide efficient and effective delivery solutions for imported gifts. However, commercial businesses that import and export a magnitude of gifts throughout the year face a higher risk when it comes to shipping, which is why we will conclude with these tips to help alleviate the pressures in importing and exporting gifts.

  • Tip 1: Picking out a service provider that understands the regulations of your gifts’ import or export is a critical step that will aid in providing you with more control over your shipments and increasing your visibility with modernized tracking tools.
  • Tip 2: Ensure that the goods are shipped by employing transportation systems to decrease the risk of items getting damaged during transit. Gifts can be shipped via rail, ocean, air and ground transportation to minimize delays.
  • Tip 3: A company that can do more than one thing always comes in handy, especially when your business is shipping gifts. It makes things more accessible and simplified and provides the expertise to navigate the complex policies that prevent millions of gifts from crossing borders.

Ensure your gifts arrive on time during this holiday season and every other season of the year. If you are shipping a gift or operate a business that ships gifts internationally or domestically, we can assist you in getting your cargo to the intended destinations with various trade, freight and customs brokerage services tailored to your shipping needs.

Happy Holidays Importers!

import your good into the US

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About Author
Breanna Leininger
CCS, LCB

Breanna has been in the industry since 2004 and has dealt with clearances and compliance concerns for a multitude of commodities for all ports of entry and all modes of transportation. She has a Bachelors in Communications, Bachelors in Political Science & Government, is a Licensed Customs Broker as well as Certified Customs Specialist. Breanna has been asked to be the speaker in a variety of events including the BC Agriculture Show, Doing Business in the US seminar and has been a contributor to Small Business BC publications. She was recently nominated for the NCBFAA Government Affairs Conference Emerging Leaders and Mentors by the NBCBA. She participates in the Northern Border Customs Brokers Association and the NCBFAA annual conferences in Washington, DC. Breanna has a deep passion for politics, global affairs, and how communication shapes policy and international business relationships. She feels very fortunate to work in an industry that allows her to take part in how policy impacts the global economy and domestic businesses of all shapes and sizes.

While we strive for accuracy in all our communications, as the Importer of Record it is incumbent upon your company to ensure that you are aware of the requirements under the new regulations so that you maintain compliance as always.
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