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First-class mail to the mainland must go out today

By Marcie Kagawa

LAST UPDATED: 10:25 a.m. HST, Dec 18, 2012

If you've been putting off sending those holiday letters and packages, procrastinate no more.

Monday was projected to be the busiest mailing day of the year nationally, and today will also be very busy, said Duke Gonzales, spokes­man for the U.S. Postal Service in Hawaii. Today is the Postal Service's suggested mailing deadline for first-class and priority letters and packages to the mainland. Thursday is the suggested mailing date for Express Mail expedited service.

For customers who don't want to wait in long lines, Gonzales suggests using one of the 18 self-service kiosks at post office branches around the state, most of which are available 24 hours a day. At the kiosks, customers can buy postage and send letters and packages using a credit or debit card.

Hawaii post offices will be open Christmas Eve, except for a small branch near Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

But 63 branches will have shortened retail lobby hours on Christmas Eve (as well as New Year's Eve), with most closing at noon. Regular mail delivery will be unaffected by the shorter retail hours.

"Since we don't see a lot of traffic (on the eves), USPS decided to close the facilities a little earlier, to let employees have more time with their families," Gonzales said. Revised hours will be posted at each branch. To find the number for a specific location, customers can call 800-ASK-USPS (275-8777) or search at

Blue collection boxes with final collection times after noon will also have earlier collection times, Gonzales said, so customers should deposit items no later than noon to ensure collection that day.

All post offices will be closed on Christmas and New Year's Day.

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