The Canada Border Services Agency is advising last-minute shoppers to prepare for long waits at the border during the holidays.
"It's always busy during December, because there's a lot of cross-border shopping," CBSA superintendent Benoit Brosseau told CBC's All in a Weekend.
He added that this weekend is the busiest of the year because it is the last before Christmas.
He reminded travellers to check online and be aware of limitations for what they can and can't bring across the border.
For instance, Canadians who opt to celebrate Christmas in the U.S. will have to pay taxes and duties on any presents they bring over the border when they return home. He said travellers should bring proof of the value their gifts to help custom agents.
Canadian travellers who spends more than 48 hours in the U.S. have an $800 exemption from taxes and duties, and those staying for 24 hours have a $200 exemption.
Travellers often try to bring too many groceries over the border, according to Brosseau.
"Not a lot of people are aware that there are limits on specific grocery items," he said.
He suggested shoppers check online for grocery limits, especially for food items like dairy and meat.
Those shoppers who go over the limits will face high duty fees. For instance, anyone who buys more than $20 worth of dairy will face a 300 per cent duty rate, according to Brosseau.
"It gets very high and usually people abandon the goods or return them to the United States to avoid paying duties on it," he said.
Related on HuffPost:
In the battle over <a href="http://opinion.financialpost.com/2012/03/30/terence-corcoran-chobanis-greek-yogurt-drama/" target="_hplink">Greek yogurt currently raging in Canada</a>, one entry hasn't even entered the fray, much to yogurt-lovers dismay. Fage is known for its thick texture and natural ingredients, and beloved for its low-fat content that doesn't skimp on flavour.
While readers will likely be quick to point out that Cookie Crisp (pictured) can be found at a few Costcos in Canada, there are plenty of cereals that just won't go north of the U.S. border -- Fruity Pebbles, Rice Krispies Treats, and Apple Jacks. If you find them here, let us know!
Again, this movie-streaming service is available in Canada -- but without all the, you know, choice of movies that we actually want to watch. Variety is the spice of life, people, even here in the Great White North!
The Cheesecake Factory
Sure, <a href="http://www.newswire.ca/en/story/986877/world-renowned-p-f-chang-s-opens-in-canada" target="_hplink">P.F. Chang's has arrived</a>, and <a href="http://www.chilis.com/en/pages/internationallocationresults.aspx?country=ca&AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1" target="_hplink">Chili's is all over the place</a>, but what about the epic proportions at The Cheesecake Factory? We want to feed our families for days on leftovers too!
Considering Seagram's was originally a Canadian company, it hurts doubly that a gin known for its budget-friendliness and taste is no longer available here. Is some reverse bootlegging in order?
Beloved for their solid burgers served in outlets which have spread from the west coast out to the centre of the country, In-N-Out has made fans out people who don't care that much about burgers, mostly through their 'secret' menu that allows for customization (and of course, <a href="http://www.in-n-out.com/menu/not-so-secret-menu.aspx" target="_hplink">isn't that secret at all</a>).
Endless hours of televsion and movies, all for free on your computer -- why do we not have this yet? This question has actually been <a href="http://beaconnews.ca/calgary/2012/03/why-we-cant-get-hulu-in-canada-2/" target="_hplink">asked and answered many times</a>, but that doesn't change the fact that we're still held hostage by which shows we can watch where. And we'd be forever grateful to whoever can arrange for legally streaming episodes of Arrested Development whenever we so chose.
Technically in the U.S., these would be known as "soda" flavours, but we're taking some Canadian liberties here. Drinks like Cherry Coke, many flavours of Snapple and Fanta and so many others aren't available in Canada. We know, we're a much smaller market than America, but maybe on special occasions, you could ship us up some melon Fanta?
Celebrated across the United States for their taste and size, Hebrew National hot dogs are a staple of summer barbecues and grill sessions (<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/19/hebrew-national-hot-dogs-not-kosher_n_1607033.html" target="_hplink">even despite the current controversy of their kosher status</a>). And while Canadians may be able to <a href="http://www.japadog.com/" target="_hplink">lay claim to the Japadog</a>, for everyday goodness, H.N. seems to get the backyard vote.
We're proud of our stellar grocery stores here in Canada, but that doesn't mean we aren't looking for some extra competition -- especially when it comes in the form of the store's brand that has inspired cult followings. Besides, you know any <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvGuI67GcjQ" target="_hplink">grocery store that's inspired a full musical</a> has got to have something going for it.
It's the stuff of stoner movies and square hamburgers, and darn it, we want to see what all the fuss is about! Even if it becomes just another chain we drive by on the highway, we think Canadians deserve to test the waters of Cravers too.
We've already mentioned grocery stores on this list, but anyone who's ever visited a Trader Joe's knows this store goes beyond a mere supermarket to become a lifestyle. Whether it's the extensive vegetarian options, the incredibly cheap wine, the hummus or the desserts, we want to fill our cupboards with TJ's goodness, and we want to do it now. Who's up for starting a franchise ... or at least, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bring-Trader-Joes-to-Toronto-Canada/212345908828177" target="_hplink">joining a Facebook group</a>?
Extensive Cable Plans
Whether it's a lack of a cap on Internet usage or mobile phone plans that automatically include long distance, the sheer number of companies offering up cable and wireless contracts in the U.S. is enough to make us consider some cross-border SIM card shopping (not that it would work, of course). But having options to buy a plan that works for your lifestyle? That's the kind of American freedom we can really get behind.