It used to be that we hustled and bustled to purchase that exact, special gift for friends and families at Christmas time. Now, it seems that the easiest and most practical gift is a gift card at the recipient's favorite store. Purchasing gift cards makes life easy and ensures that the recipient can purchase what he/she desires.
If sending gift cards is your preference this year, you need to know that the safest way to send the cards through the U.S. Postal Service is to send them via Registered Mail. Registered Mail provides the maximum security as items sent this way are placed under tight security from the point of mailing to the point of delivery, and is insured against loss or damage. You can verify the date and time of delivery as well as any delivery attempts. Postal customers are reminded that it is NEVER a good idea to send cash through the mail.
You can use Registered Mail with First-Class Mail (letters, envelopes, and small packages weighing 13 ounces or less) and Priority Mail (a cost-effective delivery in 2-3 days to most locations). You can also combine Registered Mail with the following extra services: Delivery Confirmation, Signature Confirmation, Collect on Delivery, Return Receipt, and Restricted Delivery.
Registered Mail costs increase with the value of the item being insured. Rates start at $11.50 for a value up to $100. The additional services also have extra charges, beginning with $1.10 for a Return Receipt.
Registered Mail service is available at all full service Post Offices as well as all contract postal units. To find the location nearest you visit www.usps.com for locations or call 1-800-ASK-USPS.
Nothing could be worse than getting your holiday mail or gift to its destination too late! All your shopping or creative ability goes for naught if the envelope or package arrives past Christmas. You can make sure your holiday package or letter arrives on time by following the following U.S. Postal Service guidelines:
- Parcel Post packages need to be postmarked by Wednesday, Dec. 16.
- First-class domestic mail and Priority Mail needs to be postmarked by Monday, Dec. 21.
- Express Mail needs to be postmarked by Wednesday, Dec. 23.
Follow these guidelines to ensure that your recipients can open their envelopes and/or packages on or before the big day! You'll be glad you did.
For more information about purchasing stamps, stamps by mail, postal regulations, a free subscription to USA Philatelic magazine, Post Office events, the location of the nearest postal store or contract unit, or for answers to your specific Postal Service questions, contact USPS at 1-800-275-8777, or visit www.usps.com. To schedule a presentation for your community, club or group on how the Postal Service brings the Post Office to your home or office computer, call 573-9638.
Mr. Zip's Tip: Express Mail service is offered every day, even on Christmas.
Debra Mitchell is a customer relations representative for the U.S. Postal Service. She can be contacted at 79 Mid Cape Terrace, Cape Coral, Florida 33991