Bothell Post Office readies for the rush

holiday mail Preparations are underway at the Bothell Post Office to help customers handle the busiest time of the year.
   "We start thinking about the next holiday season almost as soon as the current one is over," said local Postmaster Mike Martens.
   The heavy holiday mailing season started the day after Thanksgiving, and the avalanche of cards and parcels does not let up until the end of December. The Postal Service expects to handle 139 million cards and letters every day during that period.
   Add in a mountain of more than 99 million parcels, and it is easy to imagine how busy workers will be delivering gifts and cheerful greetings here in Bothell and around the world.
   "That high mail volume might make some people thirsty thinking about licking all those stamps," said Martins. "That won't be a worry this year, because we are selling several different varieties of self-adhesive holiday stamps. All you have to do is peel and stick and your mail is on its way."
   Martens said the post office is also providing lobby materials that will help customers understand the various options.
   "We have also extended our lobby hours to 4:40 p.m. on Saturday, Dec.16," he said.
   The Postal Service offers various options that can get packages to their destinations in short order.
   Priority Mail will get items across the country in about two or three days.
   For guaranteed overnight delivery, check with the post office about Express Mail, which is delivered 365 days a year, even on Sundays and holidays.
   Foreign destinations can be reached on short notice as well, with Express Mail International Service.
   While it's best to mail early, these expedited services let customers who have procastinated breathe easier at the last minute.