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Friday last day to ship packages for Christmas arrival
Rose Phaysen gives a small celebratory fist pump as she manages to fit her gift packages into one box at the Gainesville post office on Green Street. Phaysen was mailing her 3-year-old niece Christmas presents.

Lines snaked around the insides of both Dawsonville Highway and Green Street post office locations Monday at noon.

“It was a madhouse,” Patti Pace said while standing in line at the Green Street location later in the day. “You couldn’t even park.”

The United States Postal Service expected Monday to be the busiest mailing day of the year, with more than 600 million pieces of mail being processed. Hall County saw around 20,000 of those parcels and letters.

“It’s extremely busy,” said Paul DeLeon, officer in charge for the Gainesville-area post offices, which also include locations on Limestone Parkway and Pentee Drive. “It’s busier than in past years.”

Pace first attempted to mail her packages to family in Illinois around lunchtime Monday, but decided to go back around 3 p.m. There was still a line, but not as bad as earlier, she said.

“Somebody just stopped their car and got out and left it right (in the traffic) and came in,” she said, laughing. “You couldn’t even get through to put mail in the mailboxes or anything.”

DeLeon said he thinks more people are trying to get last-minute shopping done.

“Also, consumers are purchasing everything online,” he added. “So we’re getting a lot of heavy volume in packaging.”

DeLeon said Wednesday will be the busiest day on the delivery side of the mailing cycle; they’ll be taking extra trips to get those holiday cards and packages delivered to Gainesville and Hall County residents.

As for getting those special gifts to their destinations in time for Christmas, he advised people to have everything mailed by Thursday or Friday.

“It takes about two to three days (for the) average mail time frame,” he said. “That would get mail to (other) states by Sunday, Monday.”

The official release from the postal service lists Dec. 20 as the deadline for getting first-class mail out for delivery before Christmas; Dec. 21 for priority mail and Dec. 23 for priority mail express.

Pace said she had a few more things to mail out after Monday, but Kenneth Graves, who was in line behind her at 3 p.m., said he would be all done.