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Mail deadlines looming for Christmas shipping

If you want Aunt Sally to read your witty Christmas newsletter before the big day arrives, it needs to be stamped and at the post office by Tuesday.

That’s the recommended deadline for sending first-class mail through the U.S. Postal Service to insure that it arrives before Christmas Day. The post office is closed on Sunday, Dec. 24, and Monday, Dec. 25. However, Priority Mail Express will be delivered on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but regular mail will not be delivered on Christmas Day.

Other deadlines for a Christmas delivery are:

• Wednesday — Priority Mail

• Thursday — Priority Mail Express two-day delivery

• Dec. 22 — Priority Mail Express one-day delivery

The downtown branch at 201 West Cherokee St. is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and closed weekends. The last collection is at 4:30 p.m. weekdays.

The west branch at 407 Brookhaven St. is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday 9:30-11:30 a.m. Last collection is weekdays at 4:30 p.m. and Saturday at 11 a.m.

Postal clerk Anthony Delaune recommends getting cards, letters and packages mailed as soon as possible. He said many customers have already sent the bulk of their items.

“Most people start earlier. They’ve learned from the past,” he said. “The sooner they get it in the mail, the better it will be.”

Delaune said postal carriers do their best, but it helps if customers write legibly and have patience. It also speeds things up at the post office if items are ready to be mailed when they’re brought in.

“Have everything taped up and ready to go,” he said.

Nationally, the USPS expects to deliver more than 15 billion pieces of mail during the holiday season.