Before she got in line at the post office, a Greenwood resident made sure she had Cheerios and a sippy cup for her 1-year-old son because she knew the trip wouldn’t be quick.

With only a couple days left to mail packages and make sure they will be delivered by Christmas, residents packed into the Greenwood post office on Monday morning.

The U.S. Postal Service bills the week before Christmas as the busiest week of the year, and expects to mail 3 billion cards and packages from Dec. 18 through Christmas Eve, a news release said.

For people who need to get their cards or packages in at the last minute, they can expect to wait in line and likely have trouble finding a parking spot.

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The line was better than Erica McLaughlin had expected, after making this last minute trip in previous years. She had her 1-year-old son, Caleb, in a stroller and had snacks to keep him busy while they waited to ship four packages to relatives in California.

During the rush leading up to Christmas, the Greenwood post office handles about 15,000 packages a day, postmaster Harriett Sheppard said.

Indianapolis resident Rick Morris made the trip south to Greenwood with about 50 packages to ship to friends and family across the country. Morris chose the Greenwood post office in Greenwood because they are friendly and accommodating with the large amount of packages he has to send, he said.

When the post office is open, employees run an express checkout line for simple package and stamp purchases, in addition to the typical lines at the counter, Sheppard said. The lobby is open around the clock with two drop-off boxes and an automated machine to weigh packages and purchase postage.

By 10 a.m. Monday, the small parking lot in front of the post office on Smith Valley Road was already full, and drivers circled around the lot hoping for a spot to open up or parked elsewhere, such as in the church parking lot next door.

Despite long lines and difficulty parking, Sheppard said that people have been really understanding of the situation.

Tuesday was the deadline for First-Class Mail to be shipped and arrive by Dec. 25. Residents now have until the end of today to ship Priority Mail and procrastinators can wait until Friday for the more costly Priority Mail Express service. With Christmas falling on a Monday this year, residents have one less day to send packages and have them arrive by Dec. 25 than they did last year.

The deadline is one Greenwood resident, Jeni Prenatt, has been paying attention to. She was close to the cutoff when she mailed packages last year as well. She was at the post office Monday morning with her 3-year-old son, Owen, with a handful of packages containing presents to be mailed to friends in Texas and New York.

“You’d think I’d have learned my lesson last time,” Prenatt said.

At a glance

Still have a package that you need to mail to make sure it arrives by Christmas ? Here’s the deadline for when you can send a package and have it delivered by Dec. 25.

Today: Priority Mail

Friday: Priority Mail Express

Author photo
Jacob Tellers is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at jtellers@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2702.