According to Enola Rice, spokesperson for the U.S. Postal Service in Mississippi, there will be 16.5 billion packages and cards sent out nationwide during this holiday season.
“We expect the busiest day to process pieces of mail to be Dec. 20. We will process 801 million pieces of mail on that one day across the country,” Rice said. “Regularly, we process 551 million a day.”
She said the deadline to have packages delivered in time for Christmas is Dec. 20 for First-class and priority mail.
Rice also stressed the convenience and simplicity of using the USPS priority mail flat rate boxes.
“It’s convenient because you know how much the package will cost without having to calculate postage or weighing the package. If it fits in the box, it ships,” she said.
As for the amounts of holiday cards that are sent, Rice said the numbers are diminishing each year.
“There are online services that just e-mail cards,” she continued. “But there are always customers who like to send physical cards to loved ones.”
Rice mentioned this is the one time of year that people who don’t use the postal service on a regular basis do choose to mail.
“Of course post offices will not be open on Christmas Day. Some offices will have limited hours during December. There should be a notice of these hours in the lobby of your local post offices,” she said.
Rice said the postal service is prepared for the busy holiday season.
“The USPS has shipping supplies such as boxes, stickers and forms that are available to customers free of charge,” said Rice. “We also have items such as gift cards, ornaments and stationary available for purchase online and at select offices for customer convenience.”
Rice offered a few tips to make sure your packages arrive safely and on time.
“Make sure the address is correct and make sure you list apartment numbers and directional notations for the streets,” she said. “Place an address label, with both the delivery and return address inside the package. This ensures the return of a package if an item could not be delivered because the mailing label became damaged or fell off.”
She said to make sure boxes are sturdy.
“Make sure the box is sturdy and strong enough to protect the contents. It’s a good reason to use our priority mail boxes, because they come from USPS, they hold up in the shipping process,” said Rice. “And if you are shipping toys and electronics, remove the batteries and place them separate from the item in the package.”