Post office truck

The United States Postal Service (USPS) is ready to help deliver those special gifts to all the good girls and boys this Christmas season and have announced their holiday hours to make it happen.

Those hours will include extended retail hours at many of Mississippi’s post offices in the days before Christmas.

According to information from the USPS in Mississippi, several post offices will have their windows open on some Saturdays and additional hours during the busiest times of the season.

On Saturday, Dec. 14, for instance, the Hernando post office will be open from 9 a.m.-12 noon; the Olive Branch post office will be open that morning until 1 p.m.; and the Southaven post office will be open from 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

On Saturday, Dec. 21, the Hernando location will again be open until 12 noon and the Southaven office will again be open until 1:30 p.m., according to the USPS.

During what are considered the heaviest shipping days for parcels sent through the mail, the Olive Branch post office will be open between 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. the week of Dec. 16-20.

Beginning Monday, Dec. 9, the Postal Service expects customer traffic to increase and projections are the week of Dec. 16 will be the busiest, for mailing, shipping, and delivery, with an estimated 200 million packages delivered nationally.

About 800 million packages and nearly 13 billion pieces of mail goes through the post offices between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.

Monday, Dec. 16 is also expected to be the busiest day for online usage through the website, www.usps.com. That is where about 8.5 million customers are expected to go for information or for help shipping packages. Other information, such as shipping deadlines for servicemen and women overseas, or shipping to Alaska and Hawaii for Christmas, postage purchasing and other items, may be found.

The website will also have information available on new changes for this year, including that for safety reasons, stamped packages heavier than 10 ounces or one-half inch in thickness, can no longer be dropped off into mail chutes, Post Office mail slots, or collection boxes. They must be presented at the counter or use the self-service kiosk to purchase a postage label. Items not properly submitted will be returned to sender.

Go to www.usps.com for more information.

Bob Bakken is Managing Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.