While the first signs of autumn may yet to appear, it’s not too early to start thinking about holiday cards, letters and packages destined for service members and their families stationed in faraway lands. According to the Egg Harbor Postmaster, the first deadline for the 2008 holiday season is about 60 days away.
Thursday, Nov. 13, is the deadline for sending holiday packages to troops stationed overseas using Parcel Post to all Air/Army Post Office (APO) or Fleet Post Office (FPO) ZIP Codes.
“The U.S. Postal Service is encouraging early deadlines,” said Egg Harbor Postmaster Deborah Hellen, “to ensure packages reach their destination in time for the holidays.”
All military mail, regardless of destination, is sent by domestic mail rate. International rates do not apply to military mail delivery.
Customers can confirm delivery by using Delivery Confirmation, available for almost all military destinations outside the United States. Delivery Confirmation provides customers with the date, ZIP Code and time the package was delivered and the information can be accessed at http://www.usps.com.
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) also has a Military Care Kit to make it easier for military families and friends to send packages to servicemen and women and their families stationed overseas. Each free kit contains three flat rate boxes, two cube boxes, nine address labels, and 16 customs forms. The kit may be ordered by calling the USPS Expedited Package Supply Center at 1.800.610.8734.
“Another good deal,” said Hellen, is the Priority Mail Large Flat-Rate Box introduced earlier this year. It offers a $2 discount to APO/FPO destinations and ships for $10.95. Go online, use Click-n-Ship and the price drops to $10.50.
The U.S. Postal Service has also made celebrating the holidays more personal by making it as fun and easy as baking holiday cookies.
“With a little creativity, customers can create their own holiday cards and customized postage on First-Class Mail, Priority Mail and Express Mail,” Hellen added. “It’s all available at http://www.usps.com.”
All packages and mail must be addressed to individual service members, as required by U.S. Department of Defense regulations. “We cannot accept any mail addressed to ‘Any Service member,” Hellen added.