USPS news releases on ‘Santa Mail’ and holiday mail volume/shipping deadlines

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Special to the
Opelika Observer

Santa Claus is imaginary? Not as far as your child is concerned — and the United States Postal Service can help you prove he’s real when your child gets a personalized letter from the big guy — complete with a North Pole postmark.
Follow these steps to ensure your children get a response letter from Santa:

  1. Have your child write a letter to Santa and place it in an envelope addressed to: Santa Claus, North Pole.
  2. Later, when alone, open the envelope and write a personalized response. To save paper, write the response on the back of the original letter.
  3. Insert the response letter into an envelope and address it to the child.
  4. Add the return address: SANTA, NORTH POLE to the envelope.
  5. Affix a first-class mail stamp, such as a new Winter Berries Forever stamp, to the envelope.
  6. Place the complete envelope into a larger envelope – preferably a priority mail flat rate envelope — with appropriate postage and address it to:
    North Pole
    Postmark
    Postmaster
    4141 Postmark
    Drive
    Anchorage, AK
    99530-9998
    Greetings from the North Pole Post Office must be received by the Anchorage, Alaska Postmaster no later than December 13. Santa’s helpers at the Postal service will take care of the rest.
    Holiday planning
    The U.S. postal service is ready to deliver more than 28 million packages per day between Dec.16 to 21, and will average 20.5 million packages per day through the remainder of the year.
    With a projected 800 million package deliveries between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, the Postal service delivers more packages to homes than any other shipper.
    The postal service will expand Sunday delivery beginning Nov. 24 to locations with high package volumes. USPS already delivers packages on Sundays in most major cities, and anticipates delivering more than eight million packages on Sundays in December. Mail carriers will also deliver packages for an additional fee on Christmas Day in select locations.
    The postal service plans for peak holiday season all year.
    This includes making sure the right equipment is available to sort, process and deliver the expected mail and package volumes.
    Seasonal workers are hired when and where needed, and technology has been expanded to enhance package tracking throughout the USPS processing and transportation networks.
    Busiest mailing and delivery days
    The postal service’s busiest time of the season peaks two weeks before Christmas, when much last- minute shopping starts. Customer traffic is expected to increase beginning Dec. 9, while the week of Dec. 16 is expected to be the busiest time for mailing, shipping and delivery. Additionally, the postal service predicts that nearly 2.5 billion pieces of first-class mail, including greeting cards, will be processed and delivered the week of Dec. 16.
    Skip the trip and ship online
    Consumers can use usps.com to ship their packages and save trips to the post office. The postal service anticipates Dec. 16 will be the busiest day online with more than 8.5 million consumers predicted to visit usps.com for help shipping holiday gifts. Nearly 105 million consumers are predicted to visit usps.com between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.
    The postal service estimates nearly 400,000 consumers will use the “Click-N-Ship” feature and other online services Dec. 16 to order free priority mail boxes, print shipping labels, purchase postage and request free next-day package pickup.
    2019 Holiday
    shipping deadlines
    The postal service recommends the following mailing and shipping deadlines for expected delivery by Dec. 25 to Air/Army Post Office/Fleet Post Office/Diplomatic Post Office and domestic addresses: Dec. 9 – APO/FPO/DPO (ZIP Code 093 only) Priority Mail and First-Class Mail Dec. 11 – APO/FPO/DPO (all other ZIP Codes) Priority Mail and First-Class Mail Dec. 14 – USPS Retail Ground Dec. 18 – APO/FPO/DPO (except ZIP Code 093) USPS Priority Mail Express Dec. 20 – First-Class Mail (including greeting cards) Dec. 20 – First-Class packages (up to 15.99 ounces) Dec. 21 – Priority Mail Dec. 23 – Priority Mail Express
    Alaska
    Dec. 18 – Alaska to mainland First-Class Mail
    Dec. 19 – Alaska to mainland Priority Mail
    Dec. 21 – Alaska to mainland Priority Mail Express
    Hawaii
    Dec. 19 – Hawaii to mainland priority mail and first-class mail
    Dec. 21 – Hawaii to mainland Priority Mail Express
    *Not a guarantee, unless otherwise noted. Dates are for estimated delivery before Dec. 25. Actual delivery date may vary depending on origin, destination, post office acceptance date and time and other conditions. Some restrictions apply. For priority mail wxpress shipments mailed Dec. 21 to 25, the money-back guarantee applies only if the shipment was not delivered, or delivery was not attempted, within two business days.
    Delivering for the military and
    overseas
    The postal service also processes mail for overseas Department of Defense (DOD) and Department of State (DOS) recipients. The DOD measures mail volumes in pounds not pieces, and USPS expects to process more than 15 million pounds of mail for DOD and DOS recipients between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve.  
    More tips for a successful holiday mailing and shipping season:
    • Use free priority mail flat rate boxes. They are available at local post offices or online at usps.com/free boxes.
    • Make it easy with Click-N-Ship. You can create shipping labels and pay for postage online at usps.com/ship.
    • Schedule a free package pickup when the carrier delivers your mail. It’s free regardless of the number of packages. Or, pickups can be scheduled at usps.com/pickup.
    • New this year, mail and packages weighing more than 10 ounces and/or are more than a half-inch think using stamps as postage cannot be dropped into a collection box or left for a carrier to pick up. Instead, take them to a window clerk at a post office. Click-N-Ship customers are unaffected by this change. 
    Additional news and information, including all domestic, international and military mailing and shipping deadlines, can be found on the postal service holiday newsroom at usps.com/holidaynews.
    The postal service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations. The postal service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

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