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Time’s running out to mail your Christmas cards and ship holiday packages

Posted: 11:02 AM, Dec 19, 2018
Updated: 2018-12-19 18:02:25Z

BOISE — Postal officials say it’s not too late to mail those holiday cards and packages, but you must hurry to beat the deadlines.

This is the Postal Service’s busiest week of the holiday mailing and shipping season – with an expected three billion pieces of mail and packages forecast to be delivered nationwide, including more than 200 million packages.

In Southern Idaho alone, a record three million packages have already been delivered during the holidays -– a ten percent increase over last year, officials said.

For customer convenience, eight southern Idaho Post Offices will extend retail hours again this Saturday (see the list below). The same locations will also offer “dutch-door” package pick-up service from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Sunday for customers wanting to pick up notified mail/packages.

The Postal Service is expanding delivery hours in Idaho to handle the peak season's volume, officials said, with packages delivered early in the morning, evening and on Sundays.

Suggested mail-by dates for cards and packages destined for U.S. addresses are:

-Dec. 20 – First-Class Mail

-Dec. 20 – Priority Mail

-Dec. 22 – Priority Mail Express.

Suggested mail-by dates for International destinations

Suggested mail-by dates for International destinations

The Postal Service anticipates delivering more than sixteen billion pieces of mail this holiday season, including a record breaking 900 million packages -- a five percent increase compared to the same time last year.

USPS expects to deliver more than eight million packages each Sunday in December. Mail carriers will also deliver Priority Mail Express packages on Christmas Day in select locations.

To help everyone get mail and packages to their destinations, the Postal Service is recommending some mailing and shipping “Do’s and Don’ts.”

They say:

-DO use the 24/7 Post Office in Your Home – Go online to usps.com/holiday to print postage-paid shipping labels and schedule a free pick up of your packages by your postal carrier the next day.

-DO use 24/7Self Service Kiosks – Similar to ATMs, the kiosks make shipping 24/7, using debit or credit cards. Kiosks are located in the lobby of nine Southern Idaho Post Offices, six in the Boise area: the Boise Main Post Office, the Boise Cole Village Station, the Boise Five Mile Station, the Caldwell Main post Office, and post offices in Meridian and Nampa. Kiosks are also in Twin Falls, Idaho Falls and Pocatello.

-DO NOT wrap packages in paper and don’t place string around the package, as the paper and string can get caught in automated package processing equipment

-DO select a durable box to protect the contents. Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express boxes are free at local Post Offices

-DO properly address packages. Include both “to” and “from” information -- and only on one side

-DO print addresses clearly and include all address elements, such as apartment numbers and street directional information (like: 123 South Main Street, Apt 2B)

-DO NOT guess a ZIP Code. Look up a ZIP Code at usps.com under Quick Tools. Officials say no Zip Code on your letter or package is better than a wrong Zip.

-DO place a card inside the package with delivery and return addresses. This helps postal employees deliver the item, should the mailing label become damaged or fall off

Eight southern Idaho Post Offices are still offering extended retail hours this Saturday, the last weekend before Christmas. (The same locations will also open a “dutch door” from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday for customers wanting to pick up notified mail or packages which couldn’t be delivered on the first attempt. The only exception is in Nampa, where “dutch-door” Sunday packages will only be available at the Nampa Carrier Annex at 820 N. Park Centre Way.

The extended hours are:

-The Boise Main Post Office, 770 S. 13th St., will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

-The Boise Five Mile post Office, 1350 S. Five Mile Rd., will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

-The Boise Overland Post Office, 1650 W. Targee St., will be open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. (It’s normally not open on Saturdays)

-The Caldwell post Office, 832 Arthur St., will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

-The Meridian Post Office, 1200 N. Main St., will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

-The Nampa Post Office, 123 11th Ave. South, will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Sunday “dutch-door” service at the carrier annex)

-The Pocatello Main Post Office, 730 E. Clark St., will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

-The Twin Falls Pioneer Post Office, 1376 Fillmore St., will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Additional information -- including all domestic, international and military mailing and shipping deadlines -- can be found at the Postal Service Holiday Newsroom at usps.com/holidaynews.