LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — It's that time of year when people flock to the post office to send holiday gifts to loved ones.
United State Postal Service workers have been preparing for their peak season all year, and they'll have some extended hours this month.
Employees at post offices in Lexington say they’ve already been busier.
“It's fun, it's fun. It's busy, it keeps you on your toes,” said Lois McKenzie.
McKenzie has worked for USPS for more than two decades, so she knows what to expect come December.
“You have people come in the day before Christmas and want their package guaranteed in Kansas tomorrow. And in some cases we can do it with express mail,” said McKenzie.
USPS officials said they've seen a major uptick in packages being mailed, likely due to online ordering.
In the Kentuckiana District on a Sunday this time last year, 48,500 packages were delivered. In 2019 over 99,000 packages were delivered on a Sunday.
“Dec. 14 is our suggested deadline for ground shipping, Dec. 20 for first class packages and letters and other mail pieces, Dec. 21 for priority mail,” said USPS-Kentuckiana District Spokesperson Susan Wright.
You'll want to get to the post office on time; procrastinators will have to pay extra for priority mail express.
Also, take advantage of tools like the electronic kiosks available 24/7 in post office lobbies, or mobile carts also located in lobbies during business hours.
“We try to accommodate customers in any way we can. You can do shipping actually from home, you don't have to leave your home using USPS.com using click and ship,” said Wright.
Another way they're helping customers; USPS is opening the location on Lansdowne Drive on Sunday, Dec. 8 and Sunday, Dec. 15 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
USPS officials say you’ll also want to be extra careful to keep your gifts safe. They say it’s not a good idea to mail a gift card inside of a regular envelop because that can sometimes get separated during processing. If you’re sending someone a gift card they recommend using a padded envelop.
When it comes to receiving packages, USPS officials say keep an eye on tracking and never leave a package on your doorstep for an extended time. You can plan ahead by asking a neighbor to help out, or you can actually request a hold for pick up so the item will be left at the post office. You can also customize shipping on USPS.com, which allows you to request packages be dropped off on a back porch instead.