My Holiday HeroesCarrier Pickup & ClickNShip
I started using the first 2 years ago when I went to the PO after hours to use the 24-hour Automated Shipping--only to find the deposit bin full. I was so frustrated. I decided I could at least get postage on all my packages and just hand them to the postal employee and hopefully avoid the long lines. On my way home I remembered an ad I'd seen on TV about carrier pickup. I checked it out on the web and learned how to use it and put all my boxes out on my porch the next day for pickup. No lines. No waiting.
There is a disadvantage. You have to be able to weigh the boxes to determine the postage but I let my kitchen scale do double-duty. Worse case (my scale only goes to 11#), I could carry the boxes to the PO and use the automated system during an off-time like 6 AM to weigh and determine the postage then take the boxes back home to put on the porch for pickup.
This year I went one step further and used the whole ClickNShip system.
It's great. You load all of your addresses, select the one you want, weigh the box, give measurements if needed, select the type of shipment (priority, priority flat rate, express, etc). You keep creating the labels until you are done. You can leave the printing until later if you want. The cart will stay ready for up to seven days. How sweet is that?? Ship as you get a batch, ship them all at the end. It's easy to use and SO convenient. Last night I mixed and baked a pan of lemon bars and a couple of dozen oatmeal/pecan/chocolate chip cookies while I weighed and posted and readied my packages for pickup today.
So convenient. You can set up the delivery as late as midnight the night before. You can ship one box or 20 at once. You say when and where the boxes are located. When the mail carrier picks up the boxes, you get a confirmation from the PO that the boxes were picked up for delivery. It is SO sweet!
To thank my mail carrier for the extra effort (particularly with the nasty weather and congested streets!) I left him (or her) sugar cookies on day one, oatmeal/pecan/chocolate chip on day two and tomorrow for the final 6 packages I'm leaving him/her some homemade PB truffles.
It's all free to set up and use--you just pay for the postage. No lines, no lugging boxes to the PO (barring the need to determine weight), no dealing with inclement weather and nasty travel. And you can do it all while baking cookies--you have to love that kind of multi-tasking. :)
Say what you will bad about the PO (especially some of the workers at Ashley's PO!) you have to love this kind of convenience at this kind of price for 2 day shipping (3 max). Can't beat that with FedEx or the others for 2 day shipping. Even if I only use it once a year at Christmas, it's a good deal.