Hey, here’s something to wig out about: There are only eight Saturdays until Christmas.

I nearly dropped my fun-sized Halloween Snickers bar when I heard that. Not because there are only eight weekends left to shop, but because there are only eight weekends left to ship.

Shopping Siren, you might guess by the name, is good at shopping.

Shipping? Not so much.

I never seem to have boxes of adequate size. Or bubble wrap in its natural state of un-poppedness. Or ZIP codes that are, you know, correct.

Basically, if you ever receive something shipped to you from the Siren home, you have my sincerest regrets. And, probably, a few clean dish towels I used in lieu of bubble wrap. Sorry.

So what’s a person to do when she can’t ship?


* Mailing tube, 3 by 42 inches, The Mailing Center, $4.29

For the shipping of rolled-up posters, architectural plans and very short fishing poles. Or simply stuff the tube full of candy and send that. Guaranteed to make you someone’s favorite aunt/uncle/second-cousin-twice-removed this holiday season.

* Leanin’ Tree greeting cards, The Mailing Center, about $3

A great assortment of cards touting a great assortment of ship-worthy events. My favorite: a birthday card featuring two cartoon dogs luring a cartoon cat closer with the sound of a can opener. “Happy Birthday,” it said. “Hope all your surprises are pleasant.” Um. Like this package.

* Gift cards, Goin’ Postal, $6.95

A variety, including $25 to the Bass Pro Shops, $25 to Pier One and $10 to Burger King. Toss one in the box as an extra-special bonus gift. Or, heck, toss in a couple. Anyone who’s as comfortable in the Bass Pro Shops as they are in Pier One deserves to be celebrated.

* Tablet shipping box, Fed Ex Office, Print and Ship Center, $8 

Tablet-sized shipping box with special padding. It’s a lot of money for what is essentially cardboard and foam, yes, but it’s a lot cheaper than sending a bouquet of apology flowers because the dish towels you wrapped around Sally’s new iPad weren’t quite as shock-absorbent as you’d figured.

* Ready Post packing tape, 22 yards, Lewiston Post Office, $3.49

Sticky. Clear. And, well, sticky. All you could ask of tape.

* Decorative shipping carton, various, Lewiston Post Office, $3.75 to $4.39

Flattened boxes in different sizes, colors and designs. Red swirls! Green geometric shapes! Gives a festive air to any package before it’s even opened. So much better than using an old shoe box. I’m guessing. Not that I have experience with that. 

* Ready Post mailing labels, Lewiston Post Office, 69 cents

Provides space for crucial shipping information, such as your loved one’s name, address and ZIP code. For those who need the reminder. (Note to self: must address before mailing … )

* Holiday stamps, U.S. Postal Service, 46 cents each

Virgin Mary and child, lighted menorah, Kwanzaa image, Eid greetings, candy-colored gingerbread houses … if there’s a celebration, the Postal Service has a stamp to commemorate it. Your post office’s selection may vary. Shop now to avoid the nonsectarian gingerbread rush! 

Best find: Bubble wrap, 100 square feet, Fed Ex Office, Print and Ship Center, $19.99

For yards of secure wrapping. Or popping. I prefer popping.

Think twice: About waiting too long. 

Pretty soon, there will only be seven Saturdays left.

Shopping Siren’s true identity is protected by a pair of stylish, sweater-wearing Doberman pinschers (who will not step on bubble wrap since The Packing Incident of 2010) and the Customer Service counter at the Sun Journal. You can reach her at [email protected].

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