The United States Postal Service is advising customers to keep track of shipping deadlines to ensure presents arrive in time for the holidays.
David Walton, Postal Service spokesman, told WJLE Wednesday that packages should be mailed earlier rather than later to get them to their destination by Christmas. "This year we urge our customers to mail early because we're expecting record breaking volumes this year, especially with our package services. We're expecting about a 20% increase over last year due to more people doing on-line shopping. So our deadlines for mailing First Class Mail, we'd like you to have that in the mail by December 20. For Priority Mail, its December 21 and for Express Mail its December 22," said Walton. "Our busiest day that we're expecting most people to come to the Post Office is next Monday, December 17. Our busiest delivery date for letters is going to be December 19 and for packages its December 20," he said
As a convenience to postal customers, on-line services are available, according to Walton. "For a lot of people who don't want to stand in line at the post office, it's unbelievable what you can do these days on-line. If you go to www.usps.com you can pretty much print out a mailing label postage and put it on your package and you can schedule your carrier to pick up that package. That saves you the time and gas in going to the post office. You can also order stamps on-line," he said.
Walton also offers some tips for customers planning to ship packages during the holidays. "Just a couple of tips for sending packages, always be sure that you include the same name and address that's on the outside of the package on the inside as well. Put that on the inside because there have been instances where a label has fallen off or maybe weather has gotten to it and caused the label to come off. That way we can make sure that the package is returned either to the sender or the addressee," said Walton. "Of course, if you're sending anything electronic always take the batteries out. Also be sure to use a (shipping) box that's strong and use packing tape. A lot of people forget about that. If you don't know the zip code where the package is going to, don't guess the zip code. The best thing to do is go to www.usps.com and you can easily find a zip code there," said Walton.
Meanwhile, the Smithville Post Office will close Christmas Eve at 10:00 a.m.. and be closed all day on New Year's Eve. That's only for their window lobby service. Mail delivery will continue as usual on those days.