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Better not pout if you wait to send Christmas packages

It's time ship holiday packages. If you wait you'll pay more or even miss holiday. AP

It's time to ship holiday packages. If you wait, you'll pay more or even miss the holiday. AP

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Updated: January 15, 2012 8:13AM

Holiday shoppers beware: The last opportunities to ship gifts at the lowest rates are Thursday and Friday, depending on the delivery service.

Thursday is the last day to ship with the U.S. Postal Service’s lowest rate via Parcel Post, although there is no guarantee it will arrive by Christmas Day. Postal Service spokeswoman Darleen Reid suggests that customers send their packages via Priority Mail, which starts at $14.95 for a 1-pound large box versus Parcel Post’s $5.10 for a 1-pound box, because Priority Mail is guaranteed to arrive within two to three business days.

For FedEx Ground and UPS Ground, Friday is the last day to take advantage of the cheapest rates.

Package shipments are picking up steam. The Postal Service expects its busiest package delivery day to be Monday, Dec. 19, with Tuesday, Dec. 20, marking the busiest mailing day for cards, letters and packages. FedEx said it believes it had its busiest day in history on Monday.

For those who wait to the very last minute, keep in mind that neither FedEx nor UPS delivers on Christmas Day, which falls on a Sunday. And those who wait until Dec. 23 to send gifts via UPS or FedEx next-day air will need to pay a $15 surcharge for Saturday delivery.

Customers are urged to go to UPS and FedEx websites to figure out the best delivery services depending on their packages’ weight and destination.

For the Postal Service, first-class mail must be sent by Dec. 20, and Express Mail should be sent by Dec. 22 to arrive by Christmas Day. The Postal Service will deliver Express Mail on Christmas Day.

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