If you have Christmas packages for friends and relatives in Europe or the Far East, you've got two days to get them to the post office if you want them to arrive on time.

Those with gifts going to the Caribbean and the West Indies should get them in the mail by Dec. 12.

These are the dates suggested by the U.S. Postal Service to guarantee that presents shipped by air arrive before Christmas Day.

The Postal Services' suggested dates for shipping by air to other parts of the world for Christmas have all passed, as have the dates for shipping by surface mail.

Cards destined for overseas should be sent no later than Dec. 8, according to the Postal Service.

Closer to home, delivery times for cards and letters remain the same at Christmas as for the rest ofthe year -- about three days, according to a postal spokesman.

But extra time should be allowed for packages shipped by parcel post. During the holidays, the post office needs at least seven days to get gifts from here to places like New York, New England, North and South Carolina, Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago and St. Louis.

Mail at least two weeks in advance for presents heading for places like Des Moines, Dallas and the West Coast.