Posted on September 18, 2023 by Michael Boik

Custom Holiday Packaging Order Processes and Timelines

While we’ve received holiday packaging orders as early as June/July, the September/October months are really when things start to ramp up. If you haven’t begun your custom holiday packaging planning and prep, the good news is that you aren’t too late. But there are some things to keep in mind from a process and timeline perspective that may help as you do start to plan for end of year. This will be our 16th holiday season now, so we’ve seen it all and know better than anyone to help guide you from the planning process, through to completion.


Plan For Increased Lead Times

We generally can keep a pretty tight 2-3 week lead time most of the year for most custom box orders, however, there may be a risk of longer lead times as we enter this time of year and the holiday packaging season creates the potential for less available machine time and less board availability. Waiting on board is the single greatest factor when it comes to scheduling production, and it’s the one thing we simply cannot predict and is really out of our hands. If you plan ahead and order with plenty of time to spare, building in a bit of a buffer to allow for potential delays is key in not missing a target date or deadline. Machine availability can be more easily navigated, simply because we operate on a first-come first-serve basis. Meaning, if you place your order today and want your order completed as soon as possible, you will be ahead in line of someone placing the same order tomorrow. We do not offer any sort of rush/expedite fee, as we do not feel it is fair to the customers who ordered first and simply don’t want to pay more for their boxes to ship on time. Be early, if you can!

This is especially true if any (structural) design time is needed. There is the potential for a lot of unknown when it comes to lead times for creating interior packaging designs (inserts, dividers, partitions) due to the back and forth of sending and receiving samples and product for review. As such, please be sure to plan for AT LEAST 2 extra weeks in the process/timeline.


There are No Shortcuts in Our Processes

This is true of the holiday season, and year round, as we do not believe in skipping steps in our process in order to accommodate a rush order. We go into great detail on our quality control processes in this post, but essentially, our stance is that we would rather take our time to do it right the first time, then rush it and possibly end up with and end-result that you are not satisfied with, or worst case, requiring a re-run. This is truly our differentiator, as no one in the industry pays closer attention to the details than we do. Everything from ink color, to the graphic art placement, to the box dimensions, board color, board grade and more are taken into consideration and we pride ourselves on finding any potential errors before the job ever goes to production.


Other Seasonal Factors

Aside from increased lead times from a production standpoint, it’s important to keep in mind that other industries will also be affected during the holiday season. For this reason, what may be a 2-3 day transit time to ship boxes from our plant to your warehouse/facility/3PL most of the year, may be a 4-6 day transit time during the holiday busy season, especially as weather becomes a factor, and drivers and available equipment may be harder to come by.

It’s also worth mentioning that just as machine time and availability decrease, often times so too does labor availability. Unfortunately, an increase in demand does not always correlate to an increase in labor force, and the seasonal impact can be noticeable. The good news is that we almost never miss a due date because of a staff shortage. Our plants will work overtime, weekends and make up a lot of lost time due to any unexpected delays.


If you visit our gallery, you will find many examples of some of our most eye-catching holiday packaging designs. It’s often our favorite time of year because we enjoy seeing all of the creative concepts our customers produce this time of year, and we expect 2023 to be no exception!


Please Contact Us Today

As always, if you have any questions, one of our branded packaging advisors is standing by to assist, with decades of experience behind them. Want to know more about custom packaging options? Please call us at 630-551-1700 or contact us via email at


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