The shipping attendant

holiday shyp

No time for the post office? Use Shyp, a Silicon Valley startup that helps customers avoid the hours-long line at the post office two days before Christmas.

Using Shyp's smartphone app, snap a picture of the items you want to send and include their dimensions and weight. Shyp will estimate the cost FedEx, DHL, UPS or the U.S. Postal Service and select the best option.

Shyp sends an employee -- called a "hero" -- to pick up the items within 20 minutes of ordering, and they take care of packaging and shipping. It's just a $5 fee (on top of the shipping cost). It's available in New York City, San Francisco and Miami.

For the holidays, Shyp will even wrap the items for an additional $5. (But you need to place orders by 2 p.m. on December 23.)

If you're waiting to receive a package instead, check out Brooklyn-based Parcel, a text-message based service that delivers packages to you when you're actually home.

Customers sign up and get a unique Parcel shipping address. Items are first shipped to Parcel's headquarters. Parcel sends a text and a choice of one-hour delivery windows on any evening (except for Saturdays) between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. For now, the startup is just servicing Manhattan and Brooklyn.

First published December 12, 2014: 8:31 PM ET

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