Oct. 10, 2001 - How many yearend holiday shopping days are left depends on where your presents are to be delivered.
If you're planning to use the U.S. Postal Service to send gifts outside the United States, those going to Africa and the Middle East by surface mail must be mailed by Oct. 26 in order to reach their destination by Christmas. For these same geographic areas, the deadline for air letters and air parcel post is Dec. 3.
For general international surface mail to Asia/Pacific Rim, Australia/New Zealand, Central America and South America, the deadline is Nov. 2.
For surface mail to the Caribbean, Mexico and Europe, Nov. 10 is the deadline. And for Canadian delivery, it's Nov. 23.
For all military overseas addresses, the deadlines are Nov. 6 for standard mail, Nov. 27 for Space Available Mail (SAM), Dec. 4 for Parcel Airlift Mail (PAL), and Dec. 11 for priority and first-class mail.
Military mail is defined in three APO/FPO groups: AE ZIPs 090-098, AA ZIPs 340, and AP ZIPs 962-966. SAM and PAL are available through the U.S. Postal Service for military mail only. PAL, available for standard mail not exceeding 30 pounds or 60 inches in length and girth combined, requires an additional fee. SAM parcels sent at standard mail rates are first transported domestically by surface where possible and then sent on to overseas destinations by air on a space-available basis; the limit is 15 pounds or 60 inches length and girth combined.
The above schedule of delivery times, released by Louis A. Jackson, V.I. postmaster and coortinator, is from a U.S. Postal Bulletin issued Sept. 8. Changes may be necessary due to the events of Sept. 11 and their aftermath, although the current word is that the "schedule still applies."
For 11th-hour mailers, the Postal Service offers the faster but also pricier options of Global Priority and Global Express Mail.
For additional information, stop by any post office or call 774-1950 on St. Thomas; 778-0199 (Kingshill) or 773-1505 (Richmond) on St. Croix; or 779-4227 on St. John. Or go online to the U.S. Postal Service web site.