Time is short for holiday packages

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 19, 2005

Those planning to send Christmas packages should act fast, if they hope to have them under the tree when the big day arrives.

Both the Linden and Demopolis Post Offices are advising customers to bring their packages in at least five days prior to Christmas.

“We are asking them to send packages four or five days early,” Linden Post Office employee Sherie Summerlin said. “It is probably best for them to bring them in by at least Monday or Tuesday.”

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However, if packages are going out of state or overseas, customers should send them as early as possible.

Demopolis Post Office employee Sharon Hopper said arrival times were based on destinations.

“If they are sending them in-state, they can be delivered the next day if they are sent priority mail,” Hopper said. “Outside of the state, it really depends on where they are going.”

Both post offices also said thier hours of operation will change slightly during the holiday season. Each office will open Christmas Eve, but they will close the following Monday (Dec. 26).

The same routine will apply for New Years. Post offices will open on Dec. 31, but plan to close Monday, Jan. 2.

During the holiday season, Vice President and Consumer Advocate

of the U.S. Postal Service Delores Killette said the postal service plans to make it as easy as possible to obtain stamps.

“It’s never been easier to get stamps from the Postal Service, no matter where you are,” Killette said. “We’re making this the sweetest holiday season ever by offering quick, easy and convenient access at home or work. While many of our 37,000 Post Offices will open early and stay open late this holiday season, customers can also visit usps.com to order stamps or obtain online postage for mailing packages. Our letter carriers will pick up packages from your home or office the next delivery day. Stamps ordered online or by calling 1-800-STAMP24 are typically delivered within three business days.”

To help make sure that packages arrive safely and on time, the Postal Service has simple recommendations that can make a big difference for consumers. When preparing packages, the post office asks customers to print addresses clearly, include all elements of an address, include both “to” and “from” information on one side of the package and make sure fragile items are properly cushioned.

The postal service also asks customers to remember packages being mailed using postage stamps and weighing 16 ounces or more can be left for the letter carrier to pick up, but cannot be deposited into a blue street mailbox.

After the holidays, the new 39 cent first class stamps will be put to use. New postage rates go into effect Jan. 8. New stamps will include the Lady Liberty and U.S. flag