By CHRIS WILSON
The holiday rush is here. No one is more sure of that than the employees at the Amory Post Office.
The busiest time of year for postal carriers begins shortly after Thanksgiving and lasts through December.
Because people usually address their Christmas cards on the weekend before Christmas, the last week before the holiday means an extra-heavy volume of mail to be delivered. Because Christmas falls on a Thursday this year, the busiest delivery day of the year in terms of volume of mail at the post office is expected to be Wednesday, December 17.
It is estimated that about 280 million cards and letters will be postmarked on Dec. 17, with Monday, Dec. 22, also expected to be a day with heavy volume.
During the entire holiday period, about 20 billion pieces of mail including cards, letters and packages will be mailed nationwide.
Amory Postmaster Ken LaValley suggests that postal customers try to get their cards and packages sent early to assure their delivery in time for Christmas.
He also recommends some of the postal service’s special delivery options to speed and guarantee on-time delivery.
The postal service recommends that customers switch to Priority Mail® service from Parcel Post® and to use Express Mail® service if mailing Christmas items as late as Dec. 22.
Rates for Express Mail® and Priority Mail® are posted on signs in the post office or online. Express Mail® has two-day guaranteed delivery. It costs $13.65 for up to 1/2 pound. Priority Mail® delivery averages 2-3 days. Priority Mail® is cheaper than Express Mail® delivery, costing $3.85 for up to 1 pound.
Amory’s post office customer window will be closing at noon on Dec. 24, reopening on Friday morning, Dec. 26. However, LaValley said Amory’s postal carriers will be working as usual on Dec. 24.
LaValley reminds postal customers to be careful in how they pack their gifts and about what types of items they are mailing, since the postal service must meet all FAA security regulations since much of its mail moves by airplane.
An alternative for postal customers wishing to purchase postage stamps this year is to do it online.
The postal service’s Click-N-Ship program allows customers to create and print mailing labels for their packages with or without postage on it and to pay via a credit card.
Go to www.usps.com to use the Click-N-Ship service. Customers can also calculate postage, find zip codes, put their mail on hold while gone on vacation, purchase stamps, track and confirm mailings and even design, purchase and mail personalized greeting cards at www.usps.com.
“People can mail without ever leaving their home,” LaValley said. “You can just buy your postage online and print it out at home on paper stock that you buy at the office supply store.”
LaValley’s main message to customers this Christmas is to ship early and to realize that Amory’s postal employees are going to do everything they can to be sure they get the large volume out to their customers in time for Christmas.