Holiday ShippingThe holiday season is almost upon us, which means that shoppers are bracing themselves for the crowds, lines and sales coming their way in the winter months. While shopping for gifts is half the battle, the other half is being able to ship out all of your gifts on time without breaking the bank. Although most people opt to wait in endless lines at the post office, you can make your holidays a little merrier by using an online stamp service. While these services are usually geared towards at-home or small businesses, they can also help holiday shoppers alleviate the headache that comes with mailing all of their gifts to family members and friends.

How it works

Online stamps are essentially a way to cut out the “middle man” when it comes to printing postage and shipping your items on time. After you’ve selected the online stamp service that can best address your holiday shipping needs, you’ll be able to log into your account, then enter the weight (using the scale provided by most service) and destination of your package. From there, you can print out stamps or shipping labels in the exact amount that is needed. After you’ve printed and attached your shipping labels, you can send out your mail immediately by either giving it to the U.S. Postal Service representative who delivers your mail or scheduling a USPS pickup — an extremely important detail for those trying to make sure their holiday gifts arrive on time.

It’s important to point out that the cost of postage is not included in the service fee of any particular provider, but subscribing to such a service allows users to eliminate trips to the post office and gets them discounts on stamps and other mail-related costs.

Get ahead for the holidays

It may seem that holiday shipping is similar to shipping during any other time of the year. However, as the seasoned shopper will tell you, the key to getting your gifts out on time is having your shipping tools ready to go. By finishing your shopping early and utilizing an online stamps service, you can be sure that you’re getting your packages out as soon as possible without waiting for the post office to open up or stand in long lines of frustrated shippers.

Another great way to make sure that your packages reach their intended recipients on time is to make sure that, along with your online stamp software, you have the correct physical shipping materials on hand at all times. That means stocking up on boxes, envelopes and other inventory before the holidays begin. That way, when you purchase a gift, you can wrap and ship it all in one day.

Shippers should think of their subscription to an online stamp service as a simplified version of their very own in-home post office. As such, users should make sure they take the same safety precautions at home as they would be offered in a traditional post office. Insurance options are available through the U.S. Postal Service and can be integrated right into an online stamp service’s label-printing process. Users should do some homework to decide which type of insurance will best protect their packages from damage or delay.

When it’s finally time to send out your gifts, online stamp users can find peace of mind in knowing that they won’t have to fight the crowds of frustrated gift-givers in line at the post office. Instead, they can save time and money by scheduling a free USPS pickup time online. Most services, like Stamps.com, offer this helpful perk for no added cost at any business or residential address, regardless of the number of outgoing packages.

Holiday gift giving can be a stressful ordeal. Luckily for those who intend to ship in larger quantities, online stamp services are making it easy to get the job done right from home. Signing up for a membership with an online stamp service not only allows users to save time and money on standard shipping, but gives them back some time that is better spent celebrating the season with the ones they love.

Not sure which service is best for you? Read our online stamp service reviews to learn more about the top options.