The United States Postal Service expects to process 545 million pieces of mail every day throughout this holiday season; totaling nearly 15 billion pieces of mail to be delivered between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve.
Competitive package volume also is expected to increase by approximately 12 percent from last year to about 420 million packages during the 2013 holiday season.
The Postal Service is ready to deliver holiday greetings and gifts to more than 152 million addresses nationwide.
The busiest mailing day this season is projected to be Monday, Dec. 16, when more than 600 million pieces of mail are expected to be processed. The same day, 6 million customers are expected to visit post offices nationwide.
The busiest delivery day for mail will be Wednesday, Dec. 18, and the busiest day for packages will be Thursday, Dec. 19.
This is the first holiday season that customers and businesses can take advantage of the recently revamped Priority Mail, which now comes with free insurance, day-specific delivery and free tracking.
With our low-cost Flat-Rate shipping product - which has no additional surcharges - the Postal Service anticipates that its highly popular Priority Mail offerings will be very attractive to cost-conscious small businesses and holiday shippers.
"The holidays are a special time of year for the U.S. Postal Service. We consider it a privilege to help spread holiday cheer by delivering billions of holiday greetings and packages to millions of homes and businesses around the country," said Postmaster General and CEO Patrick Donahoe. "Our residential and business customers will experience improved Priority Mail service this year with new features that include enhanced tracking visibility."
Customers can avoid holiday hassle by visiting: usps.com - the Postal Service's Web site that will help make mailing and shipping easier. Nearly 75 million customers will skip the trip to the post office altogether and take advantage of convenient online shipping.
Click-N-Ship and other online services allow customers to print shipping labels, order free Priority Mail boxes, purchase postage and even request free next-day package pickup.
To ensure that holiday mail and packages are delivered on time, the Postal Service recommends keeping the following mailing and shipping deadlines in mind:
- Dec. 2: Priority Mail International
- Dec. 10: APO/FPO Military Priority Mail and First-Class Mail
- Dec. 10: Priority Mail Express International
- Dec. 14: Standard Post
- Dec. 16: Global Express Guaranteed
- Dec. 17: Priority Mail Express Military Service
- Dec. 20: First-Class Mail
- Dec. 21: Priority Mail
- Dec. 23: Priority Mail Express
The dates listed above are the earliest deadlines for international and military mail.
For a complete list of deadlines, visit: usps.com/shippingdates/.
Holiday cheer has a stamp of its own
To kick off the holiday season and reignite America's love for the gingerbread house, the Postal Service introduced limited-edition Gingerbread Houses Forever stamps during a ceremony in James A. Farley Post Office in New York City on Nov. 6.
The new holiday Forever stamps sheet feature four different gingerbread houses set against a bright blue background.
The gingerbread houses pictured in the stamp are decorated with sugary fruit slices for shingles, peppermint sticks for support beams and round, candy-coated chocolate doorknobs and holly berries.
All of the houses in this stamp set were designed by gingerbread house architect Teresa Layman under the direction of stamp art director Derry Noyes and were photographed by stamp artist Sally Anderson-Bruce.
For the best selection of stamps and related collectible products, please visit the official Postal Service Store on eBay at:?ebay.com/stamps.
For more information about Postal Service products and services, please visit us at: usps.com.
Kathleen Swanson is a spokeswoman for U.S. Postal Service.