Holiday crunch: Mailing deadline nears |

Holiday crunch: Mailing deadline nears

Whether you’ve completed this year’s Christmas shopping or not, you have until Monday to get gifts shipped out to most of the country in order to avoid paying double or even triple the regular shipping costs, according to the Truckee post office.

“If you wait until Tuesday or Wednesday and want to get it there by Christmas, you’re looking at paying double or triple,” Truckee post office Supervisor Ed Bahr.

And in order to avoid that package arriving after Christmas, Bahr recommends shipping it Express or Priority mail.

“We still move all the types of mail, but if anything gets pushed back because of volume, it’s the standard mail,” said Bahr, who worked at the Tahoe City branch 12 years before coming to Truckee this year. “Priority is just a few cents more and you get a lot better service.”

Bahr said the deadline for packages and mail going to foreign countries has already passed, but people can wait – if absolutely necessary – until the day before Christmas to ship something within the States and have guaranteed Dec. 25 delivery.

But it won’t come cheap.

A regular letter within the U.S. costs $0.32 and $0.23 for each additional ounce, with delivery times varying. Priority Mail, which is 12 ounces to 2 pounds, costs $3 with two- to three-day delivery. Express Mail, on the other hand, costs $10.75 for up to nine ounces and goes up from there.

People shipping larger packages the day before Christmas can expect to pay hefty shipping charges for guaranteed Christmas Day delivery.

Bahr also said Priority Mail has been running closer to a five-day delivery schedule to the East Coast during the holiday season, so he recommended shipping the package as soon as possible.

The slower delivery time is due to the massive volume of packages being processed through the Post Office, which does not hire extra employees during the holidays, according to Truckee Postmaster Teresa Lara.

Lara said regular employees are worked overtime to cover the extra processing.

“Normally we have outgoing mail once a day, but right now, we have it going out three times a day,” Bahr said. “This Monday was really heavy. We had 1,200 packages come through here and 600 on Sunday.”

Bahr said Sunday packages are normally carried over into Monday, but had to be processed Sunday due to the volume of packages expected this week.

He also said most larger city post offices have people working on Christmas Day.

Tips from the U.S. Postal Service during the holiday season:

Keep the area around your mailbox clear and accessible. A 15-foot approach and exit from the mailbox needs to be clear.

If your mailbox is not accessible for more than two days, your mail will be held at the main post office downtown.

Be aware that when Interstate 80 closes, the Postal Service does not receive any incoming mail.

In snow, carriers will attempt to deliver as long as the subdivision roads are safe and accessible.

If you get notice that a package is being held for you, pick it up immediately, as there is limited storage space.

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