Millions of customers are sending out last minute Christmas packages, hoping they’ll be in time for holiday arrival. Rachel Cruthirds is one of the six million people that are expected to visit post offices nationwide today. Cruthirds says, "I'm doing some last minute shipping of packages and I'm here to get some stamps to mail all my Christmas cards." Heading to the post office will likely mean long lines due to more than 600 million pieces of mail being processed. Cruthirds also says, "It's been very crowded. I actually had to wait a few minutes to get a parking space.” Post office branches are bracing for an increase of business for the next few weeks. Shane Hodges, the Station Manager at Larkin Smith Post Office, says, “It's been very busy. Everyone has their packages ready, ready to mail out for the Christmas holiday." Busy might be an understatement for the Gulfport office alone. Today, they will be receiving over 4,000 packages.
Larry Delahunt, the Gulfport Post Master, says, "Everyone is being typical. Gulfport people, everyone has been very nice and understanding and friendly and that's a good thing because sometimes, people waiting in line can be frustrated. We've been keeping the lines moving. The clerks here have done a wonderful job and things are going great." Make your trip to the Post Office quick and painless with these holiday mailing tips. Remove batteries from toys and other electronic devices, include to and from information on packages, select a box that is strong enough to protect its contents, use packing material to avoid damage to fragile items, and place an information card with return and mailing addresses inside the box. Cruthirds leaves you with one piece of advice: "Don't wait until the last minute if you can help it." The last day to ensure a Christmas delivery is Monday the 23rd. Some post offices will be delivering on the next two Sundays and will have extended Saturday hours for the holiday season. There is also a self-serve kiosk in the Gulfport Post Office that is open 24-7.