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It's not too late to send your holiday gifts!

Staff Photo: Erin Evans
Mary McCarthy of the U.S. Postal Service helps Conyers resident Debbie Fenwick with a package she was mailing out Tuesday at the Olde Town post office on Green Street. USPS officials said the holiday rush for them typically begins a week before Thanksgiving as people begin mailing packages, letters and cards overseas. They encourage residents to mail packages out sooner rather than later to ensure delivery before Christmas Day.

News 12 at eleven o'clock -- Friday, December 17, 2010

AUGUSTA, Ga. --- Unless you've got a sleigh and some reindeer of your own, you're going to need some help sending your Christmas gifts.

And the good news is: it's not too late!

At the FedEx Express Shipping Center in Augusta, MaryAnn Scraper is in line to send some holiday cheer.

"These are going to St. Louis, and I have some others going to Orlando," she says, gesturing to her pile of wrapped presents.

And she's not the only one.

"We're looking at about 6,000 boxes a day, in and out," says FedEx manager Valarie Hall. "Next week is going to be really busy, from the time the counters open until closing."

And at the post office, more long lines. But there's still time to have your mail received by Christmas. If you send your box using Express Mail, you can ship it as late as December 22nd.

The US Postal Service handles nearly 16 billion packages, cards and letters between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas.

At FedEx, they're looking at 63 million boxes. This year, trucks will be running deliveries until Christmas Eve, so your last day for FedEx shipping is December 23rd.

But shipping later could mean shelling out more cash. Mailing a 10-pound box via Express Mail will cost anywhere from $30 to $60.

To overnight the same sized package out of state with FedEx, the price starts at around $45.

"I wouldn't suggest running in here Christmas Eve and expect to get something delivered by Christmas Day," Hall says.

And in the Christmas rush, packing your presents the right way will save you time.

"Of course, you want to use sturdy boxes. You want to make sure your packages and properly secured," Hall warns.

So after you finish your last minute shopping, there's just one burning question: will the gifts get there in time?

"I hope so!" laughs MaryAnn. "I want to get them out today, for sure!"

Last days for shipping:

FedEx - December 23rd (overnight shipping)
UPS - December 23rd (Next Day Air)
USPS - December 22nd (Express Mail)
- December 21st (Priority Mail)
- December 20th (First Class Mail)

UPS and FedEx will not deliver Christmas Day. US Postal Service does offer Christmas Day delivery, but only for Express Mail packages, with an extra $12.50 holiday delivery fee.