Chicago gift givers swarm post offices to meet holiday shipping deadlines

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The clock is ticking to get your holiday shopping and shipping done.

Saturday marks National Free Shipping Day at stores across the country, and the United States Postal Service is extending hours to meet the demand.

"To be able to still have this service is amazing. We love a mailman. It's a special time when I can come here and know that these will get out to everybody," said Barb Hearn.

Next week, USPS predicts it'll deliver more than 28 million packages per day, and they're not alone. Other carriers are preparing for the surge created by traditional shoppers making purchases in store - only to ship them themselves.

"I just like to come out and get the feel of the experience and the scenery and things like that just walking around," said holiday shopper Jeremaine Etchen.

While Target is ramping up its online order and pick-up service, others are offering free shipping up to the last minute.

Deadlines for lowest cost shipping are fast approaching.

UPS cutoff for ground delivery already passed. It was on Friday.

USPS standard shipping deadline is Saturday, while Fedex's is December 16.

After that, gift givers will have to pay more.

Amazon Prime members can get free shipping until December 22.

For Chris Nelson and his family, who came to State Street to see the holiday windows, it's all about tradition.

"It's just getting into the Christmas spirit, all the decorations. Everybody's out and in a good mood and just ready to celebrate the season," Nelson said.
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