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      Sending holiday cheer

      The United States Post Office expects 19 billion letters, cards and packages to be delivered before Christmas this year.

      Lines will be backed up in post offices around the country as people try to ship off their last minute greetings and gifts cross country.

      KHQA's Jarod Wells talked with a local postmaster to get some tips on how you can make sure your holiday cheer is delivered safely and on time.

      "What are you expecting for this holiday season and Christmas time?"

      "Okay, the holiday season is historically a busy time," said Quincy Postmaster John Beck. "Everyone says it, 'well the post office has got to be busy this time of the year' and it is."

      The busiest mailing day of the year is expected to be Monday, December 15th. 960 million cards and letters will be processed that day, which is nearly double the average daily volume. Here are a few other dates to keep in mind. If you still have anything you wish to send to troops overseas, you should get those to the post office by December 11th, that's this Thursday. And unless you are shipping your gifts and cards first-class, priority, or express mail, you should have them to the post office by December 16th. But post office workers say it's not a good idea to wait.

      "If you can imagine that many millions of pieces of mail coming through the mail stream," said John Beck. "The sooner we get them, the better opportunity we have to get that mail through the system and not run into any kind of bottlenecks."

      Quincy Postmaster John Beck says when it comes to sending mail, the earlier the better. You can never predict if bad weather will cause delays in shipping. And just like Santa's list, check your addresses twice.

      "I would highly recommend anyone sending something to make sure their address is correct," said Beck. "It is the number one thing on that package. Use the proper tape, the proper postage, that's all part of it too. But making sure that address is correct."

      Beck reminds everyone to safely package all gifts. If you can hear the contents moving when you shake the box you should pack it a little tighter.

      Beck also says it's very helpful if customers keep their sidewalks and the areas around their mailboxes clear of snow and ice.