Three days into December and the holiday mailing frenzy has begun.
"The business has hit, it's really busy" Kathleen Eder, Hailey postmaster, said.
In order to accommodate holiday season mailings, post offices in the Wood River Valley will expand hours of operation and have provided shipping deadlines for Christmas deliveries.
The Ketchum Post Office offers extended hours of operation on the weekends during the holiday season. Package pickup is available at the post office Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 11 and 12. The Ketchum Post Office will also offer full window service from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 18 and 19.
For the holidays, the Hailey Post Office will also offer extended hours. On Saturdays, Dec. 11 and 18 the Hailey post office will be open with full service from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. On Sundays, Dec. 12 and 19 the post office offers parcel pickup from noon to 3 p.m. On Christmas Day an employee will be at the office to receive packages. Recipients will be notified of packages that arrive on Christmas Day.
For packages to arrive in time for Christmas, mailers should note holiday shipping and mailing guidelines established by the United States Postal Service. The deadlines for military mail end Dec. 20. Postmasters across the valley agree that the sooner the better for all holiday mailing.
"The bottom line is try to give yourself a couple of extra days due to the volume. It doesn't matter how you ship," John McDonald, Ketchum postmaster, remarked.
"The sooner you mail it, the sooner it gets there. Mail all letters and packages as soon as you can," Noel Hemenover, Bellevue postmaster, said.
McDonald advised Wood River Valley senders that intend to use Express Mail and Priority Mail service to mail packages a day before the deadline because of the quantity of mail expected this season. The arrival date of packages mailed Express Mail varies on the shipping destination. Certain destinations require more days and certain post offices are not open on Christmas Day.
The U.S. Postal Service offers a detailed listing of military and international mail deadlines as well as a variety of services on their Web site usps.com.