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Getting it there on time

Postmaster Brenda Munnik, with the Champlain Post Office, said regardless of how people wish to send their packages, letters and cards this holiday season, it's important to write legibly on all outgoing mail. It's also worth considering whether the item being sent is worth insuring, she said.

"Insurance is something they may want to purchase, depending on the value of the contents. It's really economical, especially if it's a Christmas gift," she said,

When mailing overseas, such as to a loved one serving in the military, Munnik said it is important addresses are correctly and clearly printed. It's also important to double-check the items you are sending are permitted in the destination country, she added.

"We take it for granted you can send your son a box of Slim Jims or beef jerky, but a lot of beef and pork products are not allowed in some countries," said Munnik. "We have specific guidelines as far as what is mailable to [the military] because ultimately, they are in a foreign country. We have to honor their rules and regulations."

Packages sent out of the country also require a U.S. Customs form be filled out, listing the package's contents.

"You have to be very specific," she said. "If a customer calls, we can provide them with the specific restrictions based on where they're sending it."

It's also important for people choosing the U.S. Postal Service to plan ahead when visiting the post office, she added.

"In our office, we have a large base of Canadian customers and our locals wait in line on Saturdays for simple things such as a stamp," said Munnik. "My advice would be for them to buy their stamps in advance from their letter carrier rather than standing in line or buy their books ahead of time."

"The lines are only going to get worse as the holidays get closer," she added.

For more information, visit your local post office or parcel delivery service. Direct links to U.S. homepages for the U.S. Postal Service and other parcel delivery services are as follows - U.S. Postal Service: www.usps.com; UPS: www.ups.com and Fed Ex: www.fedex.com.

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