By TEDDYE SNELL
The holiday shopping season is in full swing, and with it comes shipping and mailing season.
Some of the first items dropped in mailboxes this time of year are Christmas cards. Many people opt for the boxed variety, while others purchase cards individually, or send family Christmas photos, or annual family letters.
Cassandra Carter, a student at Northeastern State University, doesn’t mail her holiday cards.
“But I do give them out with presents,” said Carter. “I try to write a personalized note with each one. I get a box of inexpensive, generic Christmas cards, because I think people enjoy reading a personalized note a lot more than a caption in a card.”
Tahlequah travel agent Candy Jarvis enjoys sending Christmas cards, and has developed an efficient system over the years.
“I still believe sending cards through the mail is a nice personal touch,” said Jarvis. “It shows you actually care enough to take time to send a note/card to those special family and friends in your life.”
She also sends cards to clients who have traveled with her over the past year, and enjoys keeping in touch with family and friends.
“I like to send out custom family picture cards to family and friends, especially those you don’t see very often,” said Jarvis. “But it’s hard some years when your family is camera-shy. It’s best to have family’s and friends’ addresses saved on the computer in label form for easy editing and printing.”
Tahlequah resident Pam Moore uses both conventional cards and electronic media to keep in touch with friends and family during the holidays.
“I was never organized enough to do Christmas cards when the kids were at home,” said Moore. “Now, I only send cards to people I won’t see during the holidays. I use Facebook and email for the rest.”
Tahlequah Mail Mart Manager Amanda Taylor said that despite the gaining popularity of electronic media, sending Christmas cards remains popular locally.
“Christmas cards are still very popular here,” said Taylor. “We sell both individual cards and boxed sets, so we have something for everyone.”
In addition to cards, many people will be mailing or shipping gifts to friends and family this holiday season. According to Taylor, it’s best to get mailing and shipping handled early to ensure timely delivery.
“Monday was the first day we got a Christmas present to send,” said Taylor. “Now, things are really gearing up and we’re getting busy. I love the excitement and the crowds, and the days pass very quickly.”
Mail Mart uses the U.S. Postal Service, United Parcel Service and FedEx, depending on what the customer prefers. All outlets have ground service, as well as expedited, two-day or overnight deliveries.
“We recommend UPS ground service, because [the expedited services] are so incredibly expensive,” said Taylor. “UPS ground provides $100 insurance and tracking, and you can insure the package for more for an extra fee. FedEx offers the same service, but it’s a little more expensive.”
Information provided by UPS and FedEx on their respective websites indicates Monday, Dec. 17, is the final day to ship via ground service, and packages arrive in one to five business days within the contiguous U.S., and three to seven days to and from Alaska and Hawaii.
According to the USPS, the deadline for first-class mail service to arrive by Dec. 25 is Thursday, Dec. 20; Priority Mail Service and Express Mail Service deadlines are Friday and Saturday, Dec. 21-22, respectively.
Those who plan on shipping or mailing items to members of the military should visit www.usps.com/shippingdates or contact the local post office, as a number of services are offered with varying deadlines.
Taylor said some people prefer to pack their own boxes, but recommends allowing Mail Mart staff to help.
“We can do it all,” said Taylor. “Come in with your presents, and we’ll take care of everything else, except for gift-wrapping. We have boxes of all sizes, from tiny to boxes I can fit in, and if we don’t have a ready-made box or container, we’ll make one custom.”
Taylor said UPS has very strict packing regulations when it comes to insuring items, and a lot of people don’t know the rules on what can and can’t be mailed or shipped.
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