PISMO BEACH, Calif. - As November draws to a close today and the calendar flips to December tomorrow, the holiday season is now firmly here, beginning the annual onslaught of shipping at post offices across the country.
On the Central Coast, post offices are already seeing a steady increase of customers as the holiday season kicks into high gear.
"It's busy," said Pismo Beach Postmaster Jay Fiscalini. "We've had a quite a start for the year. It's been busy since before Thanksgiving. The carriers are coming in early and delivering parcels on a daily basis and we're hitting records every day."
Fiscalini, who has worked for the Postal Service for more than 30 years, added the number of packages and letters his office in Pismo Beach will deliver on a daily basis will quickly rise as Christmas approaches in just over three weeks.
"We deliver to 165 million addresses in the United States," said Fiscalini. "Here in the South County, we have about 20,000 customers, and we're delivering on average about 10,000 to 12,000 parcels a day during Christmas. That'll ramp up to 16,000 to 18,000 parcels per day."
With so much mail in the system during the holiday season, Fiscalini has a simple, but effective tip for customers who hope their packages will be delivered on time before Christmas morning.
"Just please try to mail early," said Fiscalini. "We get a lot of people coming in late to mail Christmas cards and so forth, and then they don't make it there before Christmas, so just try not to be procrastinate too much and try to get it in as soon as possible."
To make sure gifts are delivered on time for Christmas, Fiscalini noted several upcoming dates customers need to be aware of.
"The key dates for the lower 48 states for ground shipping, you'll want to get your parcels in the mail no later than December 16th," said Fiscalini. "For priority mail, you want to get your parcels in the mail no later than December 18th, and then you need to get your express mail packages in by December 20th for them to be guaranteed on time."
He also offered another suggestion for anyone who plans to visit a post office over the next few weeks.
"Be patient," said Fiscalini. "We're working as fast as we can. Our clerks very hard, they're very friendly, and they're just here to help you."
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