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U.S. Postal Service gives tips to make holiday shipping easier

Published 12:36pm Friday, December 7, 2012

Christmas is 18 days away, but there’s no reason to go postal – one federal agency has already started spreading holiday cheer from coast to coast and all over the world.

According to information released by the U.S. Postal Service, the USPS delivers 17.9 billion cards, letters and packages between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. Dec. 17 is the busiest day for mailing holiday cards and packages; Dec. 19 is the busiest day for card delivery and Dec. 20 is the busiest day for package delivery.

Alexander City Post Office Postmaster Samantha Maxwell-McDaniel said their busiest day this time of year is “every day all day.”

“It’s Christmas,” Maxwell-McDaniel said. “It starts right after Thanksgiving, usually.”

The USPS has a number of tips to help holiday mailing go smoothly.

n Print addresses clearly and in all caps and be sure to include all address elements

Include both “to” and “from” information on packages on one side only

Mark packages “fragile” in large print when sending breakable materials

Never guess a ZIP code. Visit usps.com to find all ZIP codes

Select a box that is strong enough to protect the contents: leave space for cushioning inside, and do not reuse old boxes

Cushion contents of package with shredded or rolled newspaper, bubble wrap or foam peanuts

Use tape that is designed for shipping; do not use wrapping paper, string, masking tape or cellophane tape

Place an extra label or notice with the delivery and return address information inside the package to ensure the safe return of an item that could not be delivered

Remove batteries from toys and wrap them and place them next to the toys in the mailing box

Stuff glass and other hollow, fragile items with newspaper or packing material to avoid damage

Customers preparing international packages can complete customs forms, pay postage, print a shipping label and receive a discount online at usps.com/clicknship

Dec. 22 is the mailing deadline to most locations for Express Mail delivery.

Maxwell-McDaniel said she recommends people mail their cards and packages as soon as possible.

“You never know what could happen. Anything can happen,” Maxwell-McDaniel said.

The USPS has been delivering mail and packages for 237 years. Dec. 17, the service will process approximately 658 million pieces of mail – the average number processed daily is 528 million.

Maxwell-McDaniel said people who have questions about what they can and cannot mail or special rules for mailing certain items can ask the clerk at the post office. She said nothing surprises her when it comes to the mail.

“I don’t consider anything strange,” Maxwell-McDaniel said. “From shelled pecans, to hams, golf clubs … there’s nothing really strange to me. I’ve seen it all mailed.”

No special holiday hours for the Alexander City Post Office have been announced yet.

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