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Holiday mail must get in the box soon

Lawrence County gift buyers who don’t want to rely on Santa to deliver their holiday packages better get them wrapped quickly – if they want the U.

Wednesday, December 15, 1999

Lawrence County gift buyers who don’t want to rely on Santa to deliver their holiday packages better get them wrapped quickly – if they want the U.S. Postal Service to help.

Even though the last day to deliver packages through standard mail was Monday, it’s never too late to get a present to that special person.

The post office will deliver presents up to and on Christmas Day, said Tom Sanders, Ironton Post Office officer in charge.

"Priority mail can still be mailed three days before Christmas and still get there, and Express mail can be dropped off the day before and we’ll deliver on Christmas Day," Sanders said. "It’s Santa Claus. It’s satisfying the customer. It’s that long-awaited Christmas present from grandma delivered that day. It’s what the customer wants, they pay for it and we deliver."

And it is the only way to get a package delivered if someone waits until the day before to post it, said Frank Lambertus, owner of the Huntington, W.Va., Mail Boxes Etc.

"As late as Thursday you can drop off packages, and commercial carriers like FedEx and UPS, who offer overnight service, will get it there for Friday," Lambertus said. "But the Postal Service is the only one delivering on Christmas Day."

Shipping presents can be as easy as a one stop shopping spree. Most delivery services, including the post office, offer boxes and packing materials to secure any gift, Sanders said.

"Our priority boxes, we provide them," he said. "We have shirt-sized boxes, 12 by 12 is our largest."

Anything larger than that must be packaged at home, though, and cannot exceed the 70-pound weight limit or the 108-inch size limit, Sanders added.

And as long as it’s bigger than a postcard, small packages will be delivered as well, he added.

But to better protect a special gift like an engagement ring, Lambertus recommends packing it in a hand-sized box.

The post office will continue to receive last-minute packages through the rest of next week, but it’s about time for people to finish up filling out their Christmas cards and send them on their way, Sanders said.

"Cards sent first-class move right along, but they won’t be delivered Christmas Day," he said. "So you want to get them out so people will get them before Christmas."

The Christmas post office and delivery service rush won’t by dying down anytime soon, Lambertus said.

Even though Monday was the biggest day of the season, delivery services see an increase in business from the day after Thanksgiving until the end of January.

"People are getting late gifts," Lambertus said. "Some buy on sale and send people gifts later. And then, of course, there are the returns."