We now have kids living in two countries—Slovakia and Denmark—and with the holidays quickly approaching, we’re contemplating how best to get holiday gifts to them. Last year, I was unprepared by how expensive it was going to be to send a package and ended up not sending one that I had ready to go. This year we’re ready to face the financial challenge of getting gifts out the door, but we’re trying to be as strategic as possible in deciding what to send.

Here’s what we’ve decided: Each kid gets one large standard USPS box filled with birthday and Christmas gifts padded with their favorite American snacks. The first thing I have to say about this strategy is that I appreciate there being a standard box so that the size/weight combination doesn’t catch us off guard with a ridiculously (more) expensive price tag. Our catch now is that there is a 20-pound weight limit on each of these boxes, and while I don’t think we’ll hit that weight with either box, we need to keep it in mind because one is filled with surprisingly heavy items.

Also, I am surprised by how small the ‘large’ box is. One thing that we’d like to send doesn’t fit into the box even though it’s actually not that large, so we’re thinking of shipping this by itself in a separate package. I’m afraid the expense might shock us on this decision though, so I’m not convinced this is a go quite yet.

It’s been an upward battle to try to find the perfect, USPS-approved items that are both size– and weight-friendly for our kids. The one gift that we were set on sending one of our kids was much too big to ship from the U.S., and when we tried to find the item to ship directly to Denmark, the import taxes were absolutely through the roof. They more than doubled the price of the item, which was absolutely a no go for us. I understand that it shouldn’t be free to send items across an ocean (especially given how expensive a simple stamp has become), but the logistics of sending a few items to our family members is truly a trial in patience.

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