Deadline upcoming for holiday mail, packages

Employees at the Greenfield post office serve customers as the busiest two weeks of the year approach for the U.S. Postal Service. (Tom Russo | Daily Reporter)

GREENFIELD — Each holiday season, Kelly Ritchie mails out dozens of Christmas cards to Sam’s Club Distribution Center employees in Greenfield, trying to time the delivery to arrive before Christmas Day.

“We let them know we’re thinking of them,” Ritchie said, as she unbound stacks of letters at the Greenfield post office Thursday afternoon.

Next week marks the start of the busiest two weeks of the year for the U.S. Postal Service. Carriers are expected to deliver more than 28 million packages per day between Dec.16-21, averaging 20.5 million packages per day through the remainder of the year, according to a Postal Service press release.

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In order to ensure delivery throughout the contiguous United States before Christmas Day, the Postal Service recommends sending first-class mail no later than Dec. 20 and priority mail no later than Dec. 21. Those using Retail Ground, the slowest delivery service offered, should mail out packages by today (Dec. 14).

Ritchie, HR manager for Sam’s Club Distribution Center, mailed out 90 cards on Thursday. She’s been sending out Christmas cards ever since she was hired on at the company eight years ago, Ritchie said.

While people like Ritchie bring packages and letters directly to the post office, many others shop online, and last-minute shopping tends to surge in the two weeks before Christmas. Some customers use the Postal Service’s Click-N-Ship feature, which allows them to order free Priority Mail boxes, print shipping labels, purchase postage and request free next-day package pickup, according to the press release.

The Postal Service also expanded Sunday delivery in November to some locations, the press release states. USPS already delivers packages on Sundays in most major cities, and they anticipate delivering more than 8 million packages on Sundays in December.

Select post offices will open the next two Sundays — Dec. 15 and 22 — but no Hancock County post offices will be open the extra weekend hours, according to the Postal Service. A number of outlets in the metro area will be open. The closest are in Fishers and Castleton, open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day.

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The U.S. Postal Service recommends mailing out packages by these dates in order for delivery before Dec. 25.

Dec. 14 — USPS Retail Ground

Dec. 20 — First-Class Mail

Dec. 21 — Priority Mail

Dec. 23 — Priority Mail Express

Source: U.S. Postal Service