By Tim Leeds
Havre Postmaster Richard O'Leary said people had better get their mailing done soon if they want it to arrive by Christmas.
"The sooner the better it's going to be for customers to move their packaging," he said. "I'm afraid Monday there's going to be lines out the door."
U.S. Postal Service representatives have warned the nation that Monday, Dec. 18, is the suggested deadline to mail items if they want out-of-state items to arrive on time for the holiday. They stated that postal workers will, on average, handle two- to three-times the cards, letters and packages this Monday compared to a normal day.
O'Leary said the major storms around the country are also a concern, and could slow out-of-state delivery. He said customers should try to mail these out-of-state deliveries as soon as possible. There isn't quite as much of a hurry for in-state deliveries, O'Leary said, but those should not be put off to the last minute either.
The Havre post office has extended their Saturday hours for the holiday season, staying open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., instead of the regular Saturday hours of 9 a.m. to noon.
The U.S. Postal Service has also given some tips for holiday mailings:
Packages going out-of-state should be mailed by Monday, Dec. 18, in-state by Wednesday, Dec. 20; after those dates use Express Mail only for packages to ensure delivery by Christmas;
Call your local post office to get holiday hours of your local post office, rates, ZIP codes and other information; you can also access the Postal Service web at www.usps.com;
Print or type the full address on all mail; include the name; street; any apartment numbers; directionals like N, S, E, W; city; state; correct ZIP code. Include your return address;
Ensure packages are properly wrapped and secured; use a strong, sturdy box with no writing on the outside; use newspaper or bubble wrap for cushioning; seal with packing tape; print the complete address in large print and put your return address in smaller print in the upper left corner; do not use string or wrapping paper outside; include the address on a piece of paper inside;
The post office recommends using Priority Mail for mailing packages going out of state;
Take all of your mailing to the post office early in the day, which tends to avoid crowds and busy times; the least busy days, on average, are Tuesdays and Thursdays, average busiest are Mondays and Saturdays.