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Don't fret; there's still time to mail some Christmas cheer

Cards, gifts flood post office

POSTED: December 29, 2007 5:02 a.m.

If you mailed your Christmas cards on Monday, you were not alone.

Officials with the U.S. Postal Service said the regional postal center in Duluth, where mail from Hall County is processed, handled nearly 1 million additional cards and letters Monday.

The regional center on Boggs Road in Duluth handled 2.5 million pieces of mail, up from 1.6 million on an average day.

Nationwide, the postal service projected nearly 1 billion pieces of mail entering the system, up from an average day’s volume of 703 million pieces. Americans will mail about 275 million cards and letters, more than three times the average daily volume of 82 million.

In turn, that means that Wednesday will be the busiest day for processing centers and letter carriers.

Michael Miles, a postal service spokesman, said the agency stands by its delivery standards for a first class letter.

"If someone mails a Christmas card, they can expect one-day delivery in the local area, two days within 500 miles and three days beyond 500 miles," said Miles. "Now until Thursday we’re still recommending first class mail."

For those who are sending packages, Miles said Priority Mail remains an option through Thursday.

"If you haven’t mailed by Saturday, then we’re suggesting Express Mail," Miles said. Express Mail is the post office’s overnight delivery service. Prices start at $16.25 and increase for additional weight. A two-pound package, for example, would cost $21.40 to mail.

For the absolute last-minute mailer, Miles said the post office will offer Christmas Day delivery for Express Mail packages.

He said Gainesville and Athens will serve as delivery hubs for the entire Northeast Georgia region. Packages will be picked up from a regional center near Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, with Christmas Day delivery by 3 p.m. in most cases.

"Obviously, we encourage customers to mail as early as possible. This is just another option for customers with packages," Miles said.

The postal service is offering Christmas Day delivery to residential customers.

"Our letter carriers tell us that there is a special kind of joy in making deliveries on Christmas Day," Miles said.



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