Time to ship the Christmas presents

Published 10:08 am Friday, December 9, 2016

The Andalusia Post office is reporting an increase in volume this holiday season.

Postmaster Mike Kolmetz said that mail carriers are working diligently to get every package to its destination.

“It’s good for the Postal Service and good for the economy,” he said.

While Kolmetz didn’t have the exact volume totals on hand Thursday, an increase in volume is trending along with projections from the USPS, which is projecting a 12 percent increase in national package volume between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve.

As a whole, the USPS expects to deliver 16 billion pieces of letter mail and packages throughout the holiday period, a rise of 750 million packages.

And time is winding down for those who need to mail packages to friends and loved ones before Christmas.

Kolmetz said USPS retail ground deadline is Dec. 15.

First-Class mail deadline is Dec. 20; priority mail deadline is Dec. 21; express mail deadline is Dec. 23.

“We are going to deliver right up until the last carrier gets done on Christmas Eve,” Kolmetz said.

The USPS offers the following tips for consumers to protect their mail and packages:

  • Avoid sending cash by mail. Checks and money orders are safer than cash and may be canceled or reissued in the event of theft.
  • Don’t leave delivered mail and packages unattended. Just as wallets and purses shouldn’t be left on the front seat of an unlocked car overnight, mail and packages shouldn’t be left uncollected in mailboxes or front porches for a length of time.
  • Consider an alternate shipping address. Customers can arrange to have packages delivered to neighbors who are home during the day or get packages delivered at work, if permitted.
  • Chang the package’s address – while it’s in transit. Customers who know they won’t be home when their package is delivered can try USPS Package Intercept. Prior to delivery, most domestic package shipments can be redirected back to the sender, to a new address or to the Post Office to be held for pick-up.
  • Customize the delivery. If the package doesn’t fit in the mailbox and the customer won’t be home to receive it, they can provide delivery instructions online and authorize their carrier to leave it in a specified location. Visit, usps.com, enter tracking number and select delivery instructions. Customers can also request the package be left with a neighbor or held at a Post Office for pick-up.
  • Plan ahead. Ship using hold for pick-up. When shipping packages, customers can choose the hold for pick-up option and the recipient can collect the package from their local Post Office. Fore customers receiving packages, they can redirect incoming packages to their local Post Office by selecting hold for pick-up using USPS package intercept.
  • Going out of town? Hold mail at the local Post Office. Instead of risking leaving a package unattended for an extended period of time, customers planning on being away from home for a few days are encouraged to take advantage of the request hold mail service. Letter and packages will be held securely at the local Post Office until they return.
  • Secure the shipment using USPS Signature Series. Signature Series help ensure the package ends up in the right hands by requiring a signature at the time of delivery.
  • Choose the most secure form of delivery. For the most valuable packages, customers can opt for registered mail service. Registered mail receives special-handling from the time it’s mailed until it’s delivered, documenting the chain of custody.
  • PO Boxes might be the answer. Customers concerned about the security of their mail can consider renting a Post Office Box at their local Post Office. The mail remains secure within the Post Office, accessible only when using the right key or combination. Many Post Office lobbies are open 24/7, allowing customers to retrieve mail on their schedule.