For most locations, it’s not too late to mail letters and packages in time for the holidays, said Becky Larson, Hillsboro postmaster.
The only place where cards and boxes may not make it on time is to Afghanistan. In order to have guaranteed items arriving on time, customers would have needed to mail no later than Monday, she said.
“We are encouraging Hillsboro customers to mail as early as possible this holiday season,” Larson said.
Suggested mail-by dates for cards and packages destined for U.S. addresses, she said, include Dec. 14 for parcel post, Dec. 20 for first-class mail, Dec. 21 for priority mail and Dec. 22 for express mail.
“For international destinations, mail-by dates range from Dec. 3 to Dec. 13, depending on the destination,” Larson said, “with Global Express Guaranteed service available through Dec. 19 for most countries.”
Larson said Dec. 17 is expected to be the busiest mailing day of the year.
“Dec. 19 and 20, the busiest delivery days,” she said.
Statistically, the postal service could handle 365 million packages this holiday season—a 20 percent increase over last year, she added.
“Overall, the postal service projects to handle nearly 18 billion cards, packages and letters between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve.”
Tips for holiday shipping
When sending packages or letters through the mail, Larson suggested a few simple tips to avoid problems.
“Confirm addresses, choose the right box and pack delicately,” she said.
Print addresses clearly and be sure to include all address elements, she said.
“Never guess a zip code.”
Selecting a box that’s strong enough to protect the contents is an important step.
“Do not reuse mailing boxes—they weaken in the shipping process,” Larson said.
Cushion the contests of a package with shredded or rolled newspaper, bubble wrap or foam peanuts.
“Plain air-popped popcorn also is good for cushioning,” she said.
Another tip is to use tape designed for shipping, such as pressure-sensitive tape.
“Do not use wrapping paper, string, masking tape, duct tape or cellophane tape,” Larson said.
Customers can save up to 11 percent off post office retail prices by mailing online at usps.com.
“Postal customers can also request a free package pickup,” Larson said. “Priority mail flat rate boxes make shipping easy and the boxes are free. It not only saves you money, but time and gas as well.”
For other questions, call the post office at 620-947-3631 or stop by the facility at 201 N. Main St., Hillsboro.
The post office is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday and closed on Sunday.