EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) With Christmas just 23 days away, the countdown to send your gifts to ensure they make in on time for Christmas is approaching.

The United States Postal Service says you’ll need to send your gifts by the following dates to make it in time:

  • December 17 – First Class Mail
  • December 18 – Priority Mail
  • December 23 – Priority Mail Express

However, El Pasoan Rachel Mercado says she shipped out all of her Christmas gifts on Thursday, surprised that she had until the 17 of December, due to a recent experience of delayed mail.

“Really…I sent Birthday cards a week and a half ago and one of them still hasn’t gotten there in California,” said Mercado. “I called him today and he still doesn’t have it and it’s been 13 days, and he always gets the mail. It could have gotten lost but I don’t think so it’s just backed up.”

El Paso USPS Employee Development Specialist, Teresa Gonzalez Villareal says everything is running smoothly this holiday season.

“A delivered package left in the open and easily accessible is like a guaranteed winning scratch-off lotto ticket to a thief, just a matter of the value of the contents inside.  The best way to prevent package theft is to have deliveries made to someone you trust who can personally receive AND sign for them.”

Enrique Carrillo a Spokesperson for the El Paso Police Departement

“They’re already working the mail I mean it’s going out and whatever needs to go out it’s going to be on its dispatched time or on its truck ready for the next day, I mean we’re here 24/7 it’s a 24/7 cycle,” said Villareal.

Besides trying to get your gifts to their destination on time, another worry this holiday season is people stealing packages right off of your doorstep.

Villareal says USPS drivers are trained to leave packages in a safe place and out of the weather, and if they can’t they’ll leave a note.

“And if they make that determination that there is not a safe spot for that then they are to leave the customer a notice that you know attempted delivery nobody’s home, and then you need to come pick it up from the post office,” Villareal.

However, the El Paso Police Department says any property left in the open unattended is at risk.

EPPD says 14 reports of stolen packages have been made across the city since November 1. Adding that the number of stolen packages reported may be higher this year compared to last year because a lot more people were home to get their packages last year.

Theft of holiday packages can be made on the City of El Paso’s website.

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