|Christmas cards, packages begin passing through post office meters|
By Carolyn Lee
The Imperial Republican
With two weeks left until Christmas, it’s definitely time to purchase stamps, wrap packages and send them on their way through the U.S. Postal Service.
The Postal Service recommends the following mail-by dates to ensure your gift arrives on time:
Dec. 11 (today)—military mail for overseas bases other than Iraq or Afghanistan;
Dec. 16—Parcel Post, the most economical shipping service;
Dec. 20—First-Class Mail;
Dec. 20—Priority Mail;
Dec. 23—Express Mail.
Imperial Postmaster Jerry Lines expects the busiest day for mailing Christmas items will be Monday, Dec. 15. The busiest day for incoming mail will probably be Dec. 22, he added.
If you have an armload of packages to mail, the best time of day to arrive at the post office is after 10:30 a.m., or between 1-3 p.m.
Postal employees are busy boxing mail until 10:30 a.m., the window is usually busy from 9-10:30 a.m. and there’s a big rush from 3-3:30 p.m.
Tips for packaging
Make sure packages are able to withstand processing without the contents or package breaking. Cushion items with bubble wrap, newspaper or foam “peanuts.”
Wrap each item separately when packing more than one in the same box.
Remove batteries from electronic devices and wrap separately.
Mark packages “fragile” in large print on the outside of the box when shipping materials that might be more likely to break.
When re-using a box make sure previous lables or markings are covered.
Mark “perishable” on packages that contain food or other items that can spoil.
Place an extra address label with the delivery and return address inside the package. This ensures the safe return of an item that could not be delivered should the outside label become damaged or fall off.
Always use tape designed for sealing shipping boxes. Do not use string, cellophane or masking tape to seal packages.
Packages can weigh up to 70 pounds and measure up to 130 inches in combined length and width. Make sure the width is measured around the largest point of the package.
Due to security requirements, packages bearing postage stamps that weigh more than 13 ounces must be presented to a retail associate at the post office and cannot be dropped in blue collection boxes.
Postal patrons have a number of holiday stamps to chose from this year. The stamps change every year.
There are four Holiday Nutcrackers; “Virgin and Child with the Young John The Baptist” by Botticelli; Hanukkah, EID (Arabic), Breast Cancer and Kwanzaa.
Those sold most often in Imperial are the Virgin and Child and the Nutcrackers.
Stamps are 42 cents apiece and may be purchased in strips of 20 stamps.