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Christmas postal deadline approaching fast

Photo by Curt Yeomans
Barbara Mellard (right), a United States Postal Service sales and services associate, answers a customer's questions about shipping a package, at the Morrow post office on Friday.

Photo by Curt Yeomans Barbara Mellard (right), a United States Postal Service sales and services associate, answers a customer's questions about shipping a package, at the Morrow post office on Friday.

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

The clock is ticking for local residents who want to send presents to loved ones in time for Christmas.

With Christmas Day now less than a week away, last-minute gift senders have only a couple of days left to put the sweaters, DVDs, or toy trains in the mail.

"In order for it to arrive by Christmas, the last day for regular [first-class] mail is Monday," said U.S. Postal Service Spokesperson Michael Miles. "Delivery can take anywhere from three, to four days to complete."

As people ship presents to friends and family in the weeks leading up to Christmas, the Postal Service sees the average daily volume of mail handled by post offices go up exponentially from the average for the rest of the year, Miles said. For most of the year, the Postal Service handles 1.7 million pieces of mail a day, he said.

"We processed 3.5 million pieces of mail on Monday, which was our busiest day of the year," Miles said. "We see more cards, more letters and more packages at this time of the year."

The Monday of the last full week before Christmas is traditionally the busiest day of the year for the U.S. Postal Service, Miles said, because many people who are sending presents want to make sure they get their packages and letters in the mail in plenty of time to make sure they arrive before Christmas.

Morrow Postmaster Lynn Everett said there was a line at her post office all day on Monday, as people brought packages, cards and letters to be shipped. She said she expects this coming Monday will also be a busy day for the office, but not necessarily because it is the last day for people to send any Christmas-related items by first-class mail in time for the holiday.

"I think we're going to have a lot of packages to deliver on Monday," Everett said.

While Monday is the deadline to ship any gifts through first-class mail in time for Christmas, Miles said people will still be able to ship packages via priority and express mail as late as Christmas Eve. But, he and Everett still urged people to try to have their items in the mail no later than Monday.

"I'd recommend people send priority mail by Monday, and express mail by Tuesday, in order to probably have it there [at its destination] by Christmas Eve," Everett said.

Everett said it costs $17.50 to send something by express mail, and anyone who puts a package in the mail on Christmas Eve will have to pay an additional $12.50 to have it arrive on Christmas Day.

She said priority mail can cost anywhere from $4.95 for a two-pound package sent to a local destination, or a one-pound package sent anyone else in the country, to $108 for a 70-pound package that is sent to the west coast of the United States.

"Being that priority mail or express mail is more expensive than regular mail, it is in the best interest of everybody to get it in the mail by the 21st," Miles said.