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Published 2nd August 2006, 10:33am

Many Cayman Islands residents are starting to gear up for the holiday season.

This is the time of year when everyone plans to stay connected to family and friends overseas and hope that their loved ones are planning to do the same. This is also the busiest time of the year for the Cayman Islands Postal Service (CIPS).

With this in mind, the CIPS has issued its latest recommended dates for posting letters and packages for the Christmas season. Surface mail the United Kingdom and Western Europe and all other countries is today, Monday, 6 November. Surface mail going to Canada and United States is Monday, 20 November. The date for air parcels to the United States and Canada is Monday, 4 December. Parcels destined for the United Kingdom and countries in Western Europe should be posted by Monday, 27 November. Parcels to all other countries should be posted by Thursday, 30 November. Letters, Christmas cards, and postcards, as well as printed papers, should be mailed to the US and Canada no later than Monday, 11 December. Latest mailing dates for letters, cards, etc. destined for the UK and Western Europe is Thursday, 7 December, and for all other countries it is Tuesday, 5 December.

For local mail, the deadlines are as follows. Mail destined for Cayman Brac and Little Cayman should be posted in Grand Cayman no later than Monday, 18 December. Mail for delivery within Grand Cayman should be posted by Wednesday, 20 December. Mail posted in the Sister Islands for delivery in Grand Cayman should be posted no later than Tuesday, 19 December, and for delivery within Cayman Brac and Little Cayman by Thursday, 21 December. International posting dates are as for Grand Cayman.

For all other categories, please go to the CIPS website www.caymanpost.gov.ky.

Deputy Postmaster General Anthony Williams said, "We know that our customers depend on us during the holiday season. Our commitment to our customers remains strong and we are going to do everything possible to ensure that our staff meets the Christmas challenge.

"I want to remind everyone that these dates are the latest recommended posting dates. To avoid disappointment, we recommend that you send your Christmas mail before the final dates we have suggested. International mail transit time can vary greatly from one country to the next, and the dates we have provided are based upon information we have received but should not be regarded as a guarantee for on-time delivery," he added.

He also suggested that the public remember to include customs form on all packages, and, if posting in bulk, to separate cards that are going overseas and make sure the addresses are all facing in one direction.

"I would also like to remind the public to use their postcode and to clearly print their address on letters and packages. By now I hope that everyone in the Cayman Islands is aware that we have issued a seven-digit postcode and a new standard of addressing mail, which includes writing the name CAYMAN ISLANDS in capital letters. This is especially important for mail coming to the Cayman Islands," Mr. Williams said.

"Another thing I would like to stress is for people to use their post office box postcode, which is located above your box on a blue plaque. We have noticed that a large number of people are using the postcode for where they live as opposed to where the mail going is located. For instance residents in Savannah are using the Savannah postcode when the mail they are sending is for West Bay."

Lastest recommended dates for posting Christmas mail.