U.S. Postal Service gives advice for mailing this holiday season

Monday, December 15, 2008 | 1:05 p.m. CST; updated 11:23 p.m. CST, Monday, December 15, 2008
Howard Hutton assists Julie Leta at the Post Office on Walnut Street on Monday. Leta has 10 holiday packages to send to relatives residing all over the United States.

COLUMBIA — "We actually had someone call to see if they could ship tropical fish," said Cindy Bolles, customer service manager for the U.S. Postal Service locations in Columbia. "They said they would pack the tank of water in warming pads to make sure it doesn't freeze."

'Bolles answered questions about sending off packages this holiday season.

Q: What is the busiest time to ship packages?


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A: The busiest shipping day of the year is usually the Monday that falls closest to the 15th of December. The 15th just happens to be a Monday this year.

Q: Where can I ship packages from?

A: You can ship packages from any of the post offices in town, University Bookstore, Stephens College, Schnucks, Gerbes and Patricia's. 

Q: What is the last possible time someone can ship a package and get it there on Christmas Day?

A: We can get packages delivered to most postal codes on Christmas Day if you ship it by 3 p.m. Christmas Eve. However, we close at 1 p.m. Christmas Eve. 

Q: What's the biggest package someone can ship?

A: The USPS does not ship packages over 70 pounds. If your package is over 13 ounces, you must present it to window personnel for shipment. Packages with a (sum) length and girth of more than 121 inches (or 12.1 feet) are too large to ship.

Q: What can I do to make sure my packages are delivered safe and on time?

A: The biggest thing you can do is ship them early. I've had people ship packages for the holidays as soon as early November. Also, make sure you have the full shipping and return address written clearly on the outside of the box. If you're shipping a box with multiple items inside, include a piece of paper that has the full shipping and return address on it. That way, if the box is opened, we can still figure out where the packages go.

Locations, hours of operation and general shipping information can be found at the U.S. Postal Service Web site,


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