Deadlines approaching

Postal workers warn residents to get cards, packages out early as holidays approach

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— Post office employees are bracing themselves for Monday.

It is predicted to be the busiest of the year as people from all over Routt County scramble to get their cards and packages in the mail.

This year will be especially hectic because Thanksgiving came a week later than usual and shoppers were lulled into thinking there was still plenty of time before Christmas.

"So far, we've seen a slight drop in mailing compared to last year because people aren't ready," Steamboat Springs Post Office Supervisor Nancy Cummins said. "People are kind of behind."

Cummins hopes people will space out their mailing over the week instead of sending it all out on Monday, she said.

But at the same time, she warns that anyone mailing packages out of state should have them at the counter by Wednesday for them to arrive in time for Christmas.

Gift givers mailing packages inside Colorado have until Friday.

Not only should packages be mailed in time, but packages should also be picked up as soon as they arrive.

"We just finished putting up 35 new shelves to hold packages," Cummins said. "But we are running out of room. People should pick up their mail right away, as soon as they get a notice. That would be a great help."

The downtown Steamboat post office keeps four windows open all day with replacement clerks rotating in for lunch breaks, Cummins said.

"It's not necessarily stressful, but it sure is hectic," she said.

For the past week and the week to come, the lines in Steamboat have been a nonstop flow out the door, but in Oak Creek and Hayden, it's a different story.

"We don't get bombarded like Steamboat does," Oak Creek Postmaster Nancy Peckham said. "It's actually a really fun time of year for us. There is no waiting in Oak Creek."

The lines may be short, but Peckham has the same storage problems as Steamboat. "Please pick up your packages," she said. "We don't have room."

The best way to speed up the mailing process this close to Christmas is to obey the rules, Peckham said.

"Don't mail anything in liquor or beer boxes," she said. "We don't accept them. We assume it's alcohol. They make good boxes, but cover them with paper."

Also, be sure to include a return address.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, security measures have increased and a return address is required for any package.

"Every box is scanned now," Cummins said. "In the past it was not to this extent, especially with foreign mail."

Otherwise, it is mailing as usual and people should take a little extra time putting together their packages.

"A lot of people don't pack very well," Cummins said.

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