Post Office Prepares for Holiday Rush

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Local Post Offices are gearing up to handle the large influx of packages this Christmas.

Nationwide they expect to handle more than 20 billion letters, packages and cards before Christmas day. Already lines are getting longer at the Post Office.

Christmastime is the busiest shipping season of the year and local Post Offices are gearing up to handle the increased number of packages and customers.

Postal worker Shane Dickerson said, "It gets very busy during the holidays with everyone anxious to come in, but if you'll get them here early it will help out and get them out early."

Deadlines for shipping packages may be sooner than you think. If you plan to ship anything to a solider in Iraq the deadline is December 4, next Monday.

And while you can ship packages within the United States up until the Saturday before Christmas, postmasters say the only way they will guarantee it will get there on time is to send it Express Mail.

Postmaster Ann Linton said, "We definitely suggest delivery confirmation, and if it is of monetary value we suggest insurance, and if something doesn't happen you will get the item replaced."

Some Dothan residents are already shipping off their packages and many are buying insurance.

A Post Office customer said, "I felt it was important because I can just replace it if it gets lost and broken, and since it’s a Christmas present, that's important."

Post Office officials encourage customers to pre-package their gifts before stepping into line at the Post Office to keep waiting time to a minimum.

One way to speed up the shipping process is to go online to the Post Office’s website. There you can pay for the packaging and then just leave your packages on your front porch for the mail carrier to pick up the following day.

Officials say the busiest mailing day will likely be December 18.