The slogan never changes. Mail early.

Stephenville’s U.S. Postal clerk Kenneth Kelly said one-fourth more packages than normal were received last week. He expects business to speed up even more next week.

“Packages should be mailed as early as possible to overseas locations,” Kelly said. “It would be more convenient for customers if they would stop by the post office and pick up several of the customs forms and have them completed when packages are mailed.”

The United States Postal Service online site provides a complete itinerary of deadlines for United States and international mailing at www.usps.com/holiday with a convenient calendar to download to the computer.

The guidelines suggest regular and priority letters and cards mailed anywhere in the U.S. be in the post office by Dec. 20. Express mail should be posted by Dec. 22 and parcel post by Dec. 15. International mailing should be completed by Dec. 11.

USPS indicates that Express Mail Military Service (EMMS) is available to selected military post offices. Patrons should check with local offices to determine if the service is available to a specific APO/FPO address.

Parcel Airlift Mail (PAL) is a service providing air transportation for parcels on a space-available basis for Parcel Post items not exceeding 30 pounds in weight or 60 inches in length and girth combined. According to instructions, the applicable PAL fee must be paid in addition to the regular surface rate of postage for each addressed piece sent by PAL service.

Space Available Mail (SAM) parcels are paid at Parcel Post rate with maximum weight and size limits of 15 pounds and 60 inches in length and girth combined. SAM parcels are first transported domestically by surface and then to overseas destinations by air as space is available.

If in doubt about any holiday mailings, the post office will gladly answer questions in an effort to ensure that all holiday packages arrive on time.

But just remember, mail early!

SHERRY BOARDMAN is a staff writer for the Empire-Tribune and can be reached at sherry.boardman@empiretribune.com or 254-965-3124, ext. 229.