December 7, 1998
Mail early and on Sundays
Postal customers are advised to get a jump on their holiday mailing schedule by placing Christmas cards and other holiday messages in blue collection boxes throughout Western Washington by 4 p.m. the two Sundays before Christmas.
On an average day from October through December, the Postal Service receives about 100 million letters and cards nationwide. This number is expected to increase to 150 million a day from Nov. 27 through Dec. 31.
The most obvious way to beat the rush is to Mail Early. On Monday, Dec. 14, the USPS expects to postmark approximately 280 million cards and letters. Monday, Dec. 21, will also be a busy mail day. The busiest delivery days for cards and letters will be Wednesday, Dec. 16, and Wednesday, Dec. 23.
Another important way to beat the Monday rush is to Mail on Sundays. On the two Sundays before Christmas (Dec. 13 and 20), customers can deposit cards and letters locally in blue collection boxes. Mail deposited on these Sundays will be picked up, postmarked, processed, and sent on its way Sunday night, getting a full 24-hour head start on Monday's heavy volume.
- Write, type, or print the complete address neatly.
- Always use a return address.
- Always use complete address information, such as Ave., Blvd., and St. Always use the apartment or suite number. Always use correct directionals, such as N., W. and SW.
- Don't let an incorrect ZIP code delay delivery of cards and letters. Local post offices and the Postal Service Web site--www.usps.com--offer ZIP Code information. Customers can also call 800-ASK-USPS for ZIP Codes.
- Select a box that's strong enough to protect the contents. Leave space for cushioning inside the carton.
- Cushion package contents with shredded or rolled newspaper, bubble wrap, or styrofoam peanuts. Plain air-popped popcorn is also good for cushioning. It's inexpensive and environmentally friendly, and you can string leftover popcorn for holiday decorations.
- Always use tape that is designed for shipping, such as pressure-sensitive tape, nylon-reinforced craft paper tape, or glass-reinforced pressure-sensitive tape.
- The only addresses on packages for mailing should be the delivery and return addresses. Tip: Place a return address label inside the package.
- Carefully pack glass and fragile hollow items, like vases, with newspaper or packing material to avoid damage due to shock. When mailing framed photographs, take the glass out of the frame and wrap it separately.
- Remove batteries from toys. Wrap and place them next to the toys in the mailing box.
- Packages that weigh at least one pound must be taken into the post office for mailing.
Holiday '98 Special Tips
- Purchase convenient packaging materials, including boxes and padding materials, at your local post office. Express Mail and Priority Mail boxes, envelopes, and tubes are free.
- Access the Postal Service's Web site--www.usps.com--for postage calculations or the latest address information.
- Avoid waiting in line for holiday stamps by buying holiday Stamps by Phone (1-800-STAMP-24), Stamps by Mail, or stamps from postal vending machines.
- Don't forget that most post offices are open on the day of Christmas Eve, which means last-minute packages can still make it by Christmas Day to most major metropolitan areas via Express Mail.
- Last-minute international mailers should not despair. Global Priority Mail averages four days to many countries for items up to four pounds. Express Mail International Service averages three days to most major cities.
- For those traditional domestic procrastinators, there is Priority Mail, which gets packages to their destinations in 2 days to most major areas. It's a great buy at $3.00 for up to two pounds. For $10.75, we also have Express Mail Service that gets mail to most major cities overnight.
- Last-minute shoppers will find great stocking stuffers at their local post office along with packaging materials to get those gifts on their way in a hurry.
- When writing Santa, be sure to use a return address. Santa may write back!