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Post office: Mail holiday packages early

From Staff Reports

In order to get holiday packages delivered on time, postal officials are asking customers to get their packages in the mail as quickly as possible. The U.S. Postal Service is trying to avoid a back up of mail in the weeks before Christmas, normally the busiest time of year for mail service.

The Jonesboro Post Office handles two or three times as many packages during the holiday season, said Administrative Assistant Sandra Peterson.

The office has prepared for the season, however, and has managed to keep mail on schedule so far, Peterson said, but patrons are still encouraged to mail packages now to ensure timely delivery.

"You really want to get (a package) out this week if you want it there by Christmas," she said.

Peterson said the post office is predicting the busiest mail day will be Dec. 22, when mailers will rush to use Express Mail for holiday packages.

"People always want to wait until the last minute, and I don't think that's going to change," she said.

The postal service is suggesting that anyone trying to mail a package after Dec. 15 use Priority Mail. After Dec. 22, customers can use Express Mail, a guaranteed overnight service. The busiest delivery day for mail carriers is expected to be Dec. 24.

Post offices in Clayton County will be open during regular business hours.

The postal service is asking customers to make sure they write or print the complete address, return address and zip code on all mail.

Mailers are also encouraged to use a sturdy box to protect packages and to cushion the contents. If the item rattles in the box, mailers should add additional cushioning to prevent shifting.

If customers are mailing framed pictures, the postal service asks them to disassemble and wrap the frame and glass separately. Batteries should be removed from any toys being mailed and be packaged separately.

The post office also encourages mailers to enclose a card listing the contents along with the sender and recipient's address.

To avoid standing in line at the post office, the postal service offers the option of printing and paying for labels and postage through its Web page, www.usps.com. Mailers can also buy stamps online or at drug stores and supermarkets.