If you've braved the holiday crowds and shopping lines, or invested time and effort into a homemade gift for a family member or valued friend, the last thing you want is for the gift to be damaged during shipping. Here are several ideas for keeping your presents intact.
Tissue paper, bubble wrap, and packing peanuts will cushion any items against accidental bumps, drops, or collisions. To reduce bulk, use the type of bubble wrap with small bubbles. Be sure to buy biodegradable peanuts, which are made from cornstarch rather than the traditional Styrofoam.
Peanuts have a tendency to fall from the box and land underfoot while you're unpacking. Try this technique to keep the peanuts together and allow you to dispose of them easily: Enclose the peanuts (you can also use shredded paper) in a plastic bag, tie each bag shut with a knot or twist tie, poke a hole to let out the air, and lay them in your box.
Include a mailing label inside the package in addition to the one affixed to the outside, in case the package accidentally opens during shipping. And be sure to place a "fragile" sticker in a prominent spot on the package.