by Richard Haddad
'Twas two weeks before Christmas and all through your house, not a present was mailed, and you felt like a louse. Your cards were all stacked by the address book with care, in hopes that you'd mail them -- but you need not despair.
For many Rim country residents, the holiday season has snuck up on them and is now staring them in the face like a hungry child.
According to Lori Shewey, Payson post office supervisor, there is still time to get those cards and packages mailed off to family and friends, but there are a few things you should know to avoid delays and unnecessary time spent standing in line.
"Come prepared," Shewey said. "If you want to place insurance on your packages, fill out the insurance form before you go through the line. This will keep you from having to stand in line twice."
You can avoid the lines completely when you want to purchase stamps by using the vending machines located in the lobby. The machines are even stocked with Christmas stamps.
Properly wrapped packages also save time.
"You'd be surprised how many people bring in packages wrapped on the outside with Christmas paper," she said. "They want the present to look nice when it arrives, but the wrapping paper will just tear. Some packages even have bows."
All packages should be free of string and sealed with durable tape, Shewey said.
"It's also helpful if you separate white envelopes from colored envelopes," she said. "Our machines cannot read colored mail."
The question on the minds of most procrastinators is: How long can I wait to mail my cards and packages and still have them arrive before Christmas?
"Cards and first-class letters that are being mailed outside Arizona will take about three days," Shewey said. "If you have packages to send, I'd recommend using Priority Mail, which is currently taking two to four days for delivery due to high volume. You could try Parcel Post, but after Friday (today) they may not make it in time."
But don't despair, super-procrastinators, she said, Express Mail will deliver packages on Christmas Day.
Points of no return
- First-class cards and letters: Mail no later than Dec. 21
• Priority Mail packages: Mail no later than Dec. 20
• Post office hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday; 9 a.m. to noon Saturday
• Closed Christmas Day
Post office phone number: 474-2972