Mail deadlines approaching for Christmas

By ED HOWELL, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 11/26/17

Even in the internet age, Jasper Postmaster Greg D. Conner said the peak season for the U.S. Postal Service (USPC) and for the Jasper Post Office is still the Christmas season.

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Mail deadlines approaching for Christmas

Posted

Even in the internet age, Jasper Postmaster Greg D. Conner said the peak season for the U.S. Postal Service (USPC) and for the Jasper Post Office is still the Christmas season.

“We’re planning to deliver 15 billion pieces of mail this holiday season, nationally,” Conner said.

The Postal Service said last holiday season it delivered 750 million packages. According to a release from the Postal Service, “In the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, the Postal Service also expects to deliver 850 million packages, which is more than a 10 percent increase compared to the same period last year.”

“The Postal Service is well prepared to meet our customers’ needs during the holiday season, especially as demand for package deliveries continues to grow,” Postmaster General and CEO Megan J. Brennan said in the release.

Conner said people still take pride in traditions enough to send Christmas cards. “That will probably be the bulk of our letter volume, besides bills that are still going out,” he said.

He said it is getting harder to determine the busiest day of the year, but starting the week of Dec. 11-18 customer traffic is expected to be the business mailing and shipping week of the year.

“During this week, we look to deliver 3 billion pieces of First Class mail, including greeting cards,” he said. “The Postal Service also expects to deliver 200 million packages per week during the two weeks right there before Christmas.” 

Suggested deadlines, according to the Postal Service website, usps.com, include mailing First Class items by Dec. 19, while Priority Mail service has a Dec. 20 deadline. Priority Mail Express Service, which Conner said is also known as overnight service, has a Dec. 22 deadline.

“Dec. 14 is the last day we suggest you mail a USPS ground parcel, which would be like regular parcel post — not Priority or Express, just mail,” Conner said.

He said the goal for Priority Mail is to go coast-to-coast within three days, although with increased volume it could be five days.

Dec. 20 is the First Class and Priority deadlines for Alaska, while it is Dec. 15 for Hawaii. Priority Service Express for Hawaii has a Dec. 20 deadline, while it is Dec. 21 in Alaska.

The international shipping deadlines start around Nov. 30 (for Africa and Central and South America) and First Class International Service has a Dec. 7 deadline in other areas. Other international deadlines are available online at the website.

For military bases, Retail Ground Service deadlines passed on Nov. 6. Space Available Mail deadlines will be on Nov. 27 and Parcel Airlift Mail by Dec. 4. Priority Mail and First Class Mail Service deadlines will be Dec. 11 — except in the 093 area, which will be Dec. 4. and will not have Priority Mail Express Military Service. The Priority Mail Express Military Service deadlines for the other areas will be Dec. 16.

With Christmas Eve being on a Sunday, Conner said post offices will be open Dec. 23 and Dec. 26. “We do offer an Express Mail that can be delivered on a non-scheduled work day, but it is pretty expensive,” he said. “If there are any packages, we will have someone come in and deliver them.”

According to the press release, the Postal Service “will be expanding its Sunday delivery operations to locations with high package volumes beginning Nov. 26.

The Postal Service already delivers packages on Sundays in most major cities, and anticipates delivering more than 6 million packages on Sundays this December.” 

As for general tips for customers, Conner advised customers that packages are in a large enough box to put bubble wrap or other protective cover. “We are not in the business of just throwing packages across the room, but they could fall from machines or something like that,” he said.

He advised to put a return address on any package sent and to never send money through the mail. “Always send money orders, or something you have a receipt for,” he said. “If you send money through the mail, and it gets lost, it is lost.”

The Postal Service said in its release that it anticipates that Dec. 18 will be its busiest day online, with more than 7 million customers predicted to visit usps.com for help in shipping. Click-N-Ship and other online services allow customers to order free Priority Mail boxes, print shipping labels, purchase postage and request free next-day Package Pickup from the mail carrier.