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Christmas still post office’s busiest time of year

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Holiday helpers do not always wear red and green, sometimes they wear blue.

The United States Postal Service plays a role in many gifts getting to recipients, and in Clanton the Christmas season is the busiest time of the year.

“Packagewise, we get anywhere from two and a half to three times the volume that we get throughout the year,” Zachery Stettler, supervisor of customer services, said. “Right now, we are averaging anywhere from 1,700 to 2,500 packages a day.”

A typical day the rest of the year might max out at 800.

Purchases of gifts through online retailers is a major contributor to the increase, Stettler said.

Stettler said flat mail items remain fairly consistent throughout the year.

To keep up with the increase in the number of packages, Stettler said the post office sometimes hires temporary employees for the holiday season and has earlier start times.

“There are going to be multiple carriers carrying each route, might not be the normal vehicles,” Stettler said.

He said when multiple people are working the same route, a person’s packages may not be delivered at the same time as the person’s mail.

USPS now offers Informed Delivery where those who sign up can received notification of when mail and packages are expected to be delivered.

“Informed Delivery is definitely a helpful tool for the customer,” Stettler said.

Employees will also wind up working late to finish up.

With all these packages coming, Settler said there are some things that residents can do to help those who deliver their mail. He suggested keeping walkways clear and turning on porch lights, so employees can see when making evening deliveries.

Times of mail being delivered may also be later than normal.

For those mailing presents, the best dates to send something in order for it to arrive before Christmas are listed at usps.com/holiday/holiday-shipping-dates.htm

Items mailed Priority Mail are recommended to be mailed by Dec. 21.