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      Getting your packages delivered by the holidays

      Christmas is only eight days away.

      That makes this the busiest time of year in the shipping industry as thousands of packages are flown across the globe. But just how late can you ship a package to guarantee it gets to its destination on time?

      Mary Jo Stimac, owner of the Shipping Shop in Houghton, said she has seen about a 50 percent increase in the number of customers.

      â??No other month compares to the month of December in the shipping business,â?? said Stimac. â??As I tell my employees, we practice all year for these four weeks.â??

      Whether it's toys, clothing, or food, it can be shipped. Stimac said the Shipping Shop can send packages as late as December 23 to arrive by Christmas, though it may cost a little more.

      â??To the West Coast to the Deep South, right now we are suggesting that you do a third-day air to guarantee it there by Friday if it goes out today,â?? Stimac explained. â??Just in case, because there are so many packages in the system.â??

      FedEx and UPS guarantee shipping within one to five days in the lower 48 states, but packages can be sent anywhere in the world.

      â??Wherever Santa goes, we go,â?? Stimac said. â??With the Michigan Tech University here and Finlandia, we have a lot of international-based customers, and so a lot of them are shipping to their family overseas--the Middle East, to Europe.â??

      Despite an overflow of gifts to send out, Stimac expects the rush to die down in the next couple of weeks. Until then, she said the scramble to get everything shipped is always a fun challenge.

      â??For the most part, it's a lot of fun,â?? she said. â??Our customers are always very grateful when they come in, and as they leave, oftentimes we'll hear the comment, 'I'm so relieved this is all taken care of. I know it's going to get there, and it's going to get there in good shape,' and stuff. So, it's a lot of fun.â??