HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Shipping companies are getting ready for the big holiday send-off, but before the packages hit your doorstep, there are some things you should know.
The Postal Service in Hawaii handles five million parcels and pieces of mail at this time of year. And now, they're on heightened alert after the recent terror plot involving a UPS parcel from Yemen.
"Our employees have been trained annually on suspicious packages," USPS Homeland Security's Doug Aton said.
Their training is called "slap,"where workers are on alert for a parcel's unusual size or shape, a suspicious look or markings, an address to a place rather than a person and unusual packaging, like too much tape.
Many commercial U.S. shippers are also on alert. UPS headquarters released this statement to Hawaii News Now:
"UPS will continue to put safety and security of our employees, customers, and the communities as our top priority as we ramp up for our busy holiday season. We cannot discuss details of our multi-layered security procedures."
The Postal Service says it's not only security but timeliness that counts.
"There's a balance that we have to strike because our goal, also, is to ensure that every package is delivered by Christmas," Aton said.
Some other things to keep in mind - procrastinators, we're talking to you, "cut-off" dates.
Lloyd Wong makes a Christmas list and checks it twice before heading to the shipper. He sends out 10 to 15 parcels to the mainland and Japan every year at this time.
"December's absolutely too late so we start in, like, November, like now," Wong said.
Some dates to remember. For FedEx and UPS, the absolute last day to ship is Dec. 23 to guarantee your present makes it on time and depending on the method, there are various dates for the Postal Service, between Dec. 15 and 22.
Scrooge is going to visit just "after" the holiday season. UPS and the Postal Service are going to raise rates for customers at the beginning of January, as the economy continues to take a toll. The Postal Service lost $8.5 billion this past fiscal year.