Post Offices in Midst of Shipping Crunch

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HUGHESVILLE -- The clock is ticking on mailing those holiday cards and packages.

Christmas is two weeks away and that means it's prime time for post offices all over the area.

It is like this every year for postal workers, busy day after busy day, especially as we get closer to Christmas. All because if customers wait too long, their deliveries might be late or they could end up paying big bucks for an on-time gift or card.

At the post office in Hughesville, it's a sure sign that the countdown to Christmas is closing in on zero: customers carried piles of packages and postal workers weighed them.

Richard Fry stopped in and mailed some packages to customers. It's just a part of doing business during the holiday season.

"It's not too difficult. We try to specialize in helping people out, who need something they call, if we have it, we'll help them out," said Fry of Katie's Country Store.

From Katie's Country Store to the customer's front door, the postal service plays middle man in a big way for so many deliveries this time of year.

"Customers can choose our delivery confirmations and make sure they can track their packages and see they get there on time," said postmaster Jeff Kline.

Kline pulled a rare shift at the Hughesville post office's counter, helping to handle all the holiday mail.

"We do have deadlines to meet we try to make sure all mail goes out everyday."

On any normal day, the post office workers in Hughesville said they can fill just one bin with outgoing mail. Now it's the holiday home-stretch, and people are mailing packages and envelopes in droves, so there can be as many as three bins going out all at once.

If you are sending first class mail to Europe and the Middle East, the Caribbean and Canada, the deadline for Christmas arrival has passed.

There's still time to send Priority or Express mail but, depending on the destination, it could cost you more.

Lena Carichner left a package for her mother-in-law with the post office with plenty of time to spare, one of the many that will make it where it's going on time.

"(We) want to get it down there before Christmas so she'd have it to decorate her room. Little things to help her trim her room, make it look like Christmas," said Carichner of Hughesville.

Some other deadlines to keep in mind if you're mailing packages or cards through the U.S. Postal Service:

December 20 is the last day to send first class mail for Christmas arrival.

Two days later, the 22nd, is the last day for express mail to make it by the 25th.