With thousands of American troops and civilians in the Middle East, it`s time to begin thinking about sending Christmas mail. The Postal Service says parcels traveling to civilians in the Middle East by surface mail should be sent by October 21st to be there in time for the holidays. Parcel post addressed to military A-P-0 and F-P-O addresses worldwide should be sent by November 13th. The deadline is November 27th for mail shipped on military aircraft when space is available and December fourth for military parcel airlift mail. First-class letters and priority mail to A-P-O-F-P-O addresses with ZIP codes beginning with "093" should be sent by December 6th and the deadline for other military ZIP codes is December 11th. For civilian parcels traveling by surface mail the recommended deadline is October 14th for items going to Africa, October 28th for Asia, the Pacific, Australia and New Zealand, October 29th for Central and South America, November fifth for Mexico, the Caribbean and Europe and November 19th for Canada. Global airmail parcel post should be sent by December 6th to Africa, Central and South America, December tenth for Europe and December 13th elsewhere. For airmail cards and letters the suggested deadlines are December 6th for Africa, Central and South America and December 13th for the rest of the world. Global express mail should be sent by December 11th to Africa, Central and South America and Europe, December 17th to Asia, the Pacific, Australia, New Zealand, the Caribbean, Mexico and the Middle East and December 18th to Canada. And global express guaranteed items can wait until December, 21st for Canada, December 20th elsewhere. The post office advises that military mail should include service member`s full name, military organization and unit and APO-FPO number. Do not include the country name in the address of military mail. For civilian mail, place the city or town and province name on the line after the street address. Also, put the foreign postal code in front of the city name and on the same line, write the name of the foreign country in capital letters on the last line of the address. Suggestions for everyone: -- Make sure the box is strong enough. -- Cushion the contents of the package with shredded or rolled newspaper, bubble wrap, plastic peanuts or plain, air-popped popcorn. Pack tightly to avoid shifting. -- Use tape designed for shipping such as nylon-reinforced tape. Do not use masking tape, wrapping paper, string or cellophane tape. -- Put the delivery and return address on only one side of the package. Place a copy of the delivery and return address inside. -- Remove glass from frames and batteries from toys and wrap them separately. Stuff items that may be hollow or fragile.