Mailing out holiday cheer

LIHUE — The days after Black Friday are usually busy for Annalynn Dribo, who uses that time to shop around for deals on clothes, slippers and other Christmas presents for relatives in the Marshall Islands.

“It’s a really big thing for them back home,” Dribo said this week after mailing out two boxes to her family at the Lihue Post Office. “Each clan, as we’ll call it, has their own family dance that they do and they do it at church. Christmas Day is the day when you can present all of your new uniforms, clothes, earrings or whatever you got — you perform and show them what gifts you got from family members. Because I’m back here and they don’t have that many things back home, I send it to my family members to at least dress up for that big day.”

To ensure that it all gets there in time for the big day, the 29-year-old Lihue resident said she usually begins sending out her packages as early as Dec. 1 every year.

“It at least takes a week for it to get there, so everything reaches there before Dec. 25,” Dribo said.

U.S. Postal Service officials say mailing out packages early, like Dribo did, is a checklist item that will allow most holiday packages to arrive on time.

Postal Service spokesman Duke Gonzales said the independent federal agency is expecting a 20 percent increase in the volume of packages that will be processed and delivered in Hawaii during the holidays this year compared to last year.

During last year’s holiday season, which ran from Thanksgiving to Dec. 25, an average of about 129,000 packages passed through the state’s main sorting facility in Honolulu every day. Gonzales said Postal Service officials expect that figure to increase to about 155,000 this year.

“The increase in package volume is due to the steady increase in online commerce,” Gonzales said.

In all, Postal Service officials estimate that the federal agency will deliver about 470 million packages and 12.7 billion pieces of mail nationwide during the holidays.

A total of 150 temporary holiday employees have been hired this year to work in the mail processing plant in Honolulu to accommodate the increased volume of mail, Gonzales said.

Although none of the 16 post offices on Kauai are extending business hours over the next few weeks, Gonzales said residents can print out their postage online at the Postal Service website and arrange for their letter carriers to pick up their packages for free.

“Some people enjoy the busy, festive atmosphere of a post office during the holidays,” Gonzales wrote in an email. “But, for all others, go online to skip the trip, save money and reduce your holiday stress.”

Puhi resident Thelma Pascual, who sent two packages to her cousins on the Mainland on Monday at the Lihue Post Office, said she has three more boxes to send to other family members.

“I try to mail my packages as soon as I can, because I do all of my shopping right after Thanksgiving,” Pascual said. “They have all of those specials at Costco, so I buy macadamia nuts and those kinds of things for them.”


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