• 57°

The time to ship for the holidays is now

As Christmas approaches, local residents scramble to get out some last minute shipping. And the United States Postal Service’s recommended deadlines to get packages delivered before Christmas are fast approaching.

Post offices across the country close on Christmas and New Year’s Day. Local post offices will also be closing early on Christmas Eve.

“On Christmas Eve, we will have shortened hours,” Acting Supervisor Mike Smith said. “We will be closed at 12 noon.”

The post office recommends Friday as the deadline for first-class mail service and first class packages up to 15.99 ounces. Priority mail should be mailed by Saturday and priority mail express should be mailed by Dec. 23.

These dates, especially for first class mail, are an estimate only. A release by the post office stressed that actual delivery dates can vary depending on origin, destination and other factors.

“For Priority Mail Express shipments mailed Dec. 21 through Dec. 25, the money-back guarantee applies only if the shipment was not delivered, or delivery was not attempted within two business days,” the release said.

The holidays are a busy time for the USPS. In fact, Monday began the post office’s busiest week of the year. It’s something they plan for throughout the year. Between Monday and Sunday, the post office expects to deliver more than 200 million packages around the country, with more than 800 million packages delivered between Thanksgiving and New Years.

Several post offices around the state will have extended hours, including the Clinton post office on 100 E. Lawrence St., which will be open for two hours Saturday from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m. The post office is also encouraging customers to visit usps.com for online help shipping packages.

According to the post office release, there are some new rules to how customers can ship their packages. They can no longer drop off stamped packages that are more than one-half inch thick or weighing more than 10 ounces into blue collection boxes, building mail chutes or lobby post office mail slots.

“Instead you must go to a retail counter or use the self-service kiosk (SSK) to purchase a postage label,” the release said. “If you opt to use the SSK, to buy a postage label, you can drop off your package in the package slot, not the mail slot, at a Post Office.”

 

2019 USPS HOLIDAY SHIPPING DEADLINES

• Friday for first-class mail (including cards) and first-class packages (up to 15.99 ounces)

• Saturday for Priority Mail

• Sunday for Priority Mail Express

NOTE: The US Postal Service does not guarantee these dates, unless otherwise specified. Dates are for estimated delivery before Dec. 25.

NEW RULES FOR 2019

• Mail/packages weighing more than 10 ounces or more than 1/2-inch thick using stamps must be taken to a window clerk ONLY.