ESCANABA - It's the most wonderful time of the year for the U.S. Postal Service, which expects to see an increase in the number of packages delivered this holiday season.
According to Sabrina Todd, media relations coordinator based in Lansing whose territory includes the Upper Peninsula, the USPS expects this coming Monday, Dec. 16, to be the busiest day for mailing cards and packages across the nation, while the busiest days for delivering cards and packages is projected to be Dec. 18 and 19, respectively.
"We're looking at an increase in our package volume over last year, so they expect nationwide to deliver 420 million packages between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve," she said.
Jason Raiche | Daily Press
U.S. Postal Service mail carrier Tim Gould enters a business while delivering mail along his route on Ludington Street in Escanaba Wednesday morning. The U.S. Postal Service projects 420 million packages will be delivered this holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve.
In total the postal service anticipates delivering more than 15 billion pieces of mail over this same time frame using one of the largest civilian fleets in the world of nearly 212,000 vehicles, according to www.usps.com.
Despite the higher number of packages, Todd noted the number of cards and letters projected for delivery is down slightly from last year.
"It's a slight decrease because you have people who are doing more social media, but we're not seeing that much of a decrease," she said.
The USPS has many tips for its customers to consider when sending packages this holiday season to ensure safe delivery in time for Christmas.
"As people are preparing their packages for mailing, if there's anything breakable they should make sure to package it really good using packaging peanuts or foam," said Todd, adding newspaper material is also helpful to use when packaging glass and other fragile items.
It's also important to make sure the packages are property sealed and that batteries are removed from toys and other items that could easily turn on inside the package.
Other tips include using a strong and sturdy box, cushioning items inside the package to protect during transportation, placing wrapped gift boxes inside a plain larger box, and placing an extra shipping label inside the box so the item can be returned in case the package or label is damaged.
Labels should be printed clearly in capital letters, including complete "to" and "from" information. Boxes with fragile items should also be labeled as such so they can be handled with greater care.
"It's a busy time for us, but this is one of our best times of the year," commented Todd.
The USPS has set the following key shipping date deadlines for domestic mail to guarantee arrival in time for Christmas:
-Dec. 14 for Standard Post service
-Dec. 20 for First-Class Mail service
-Dec. 21 for Priority Mail service
-Dec. 23 for Priority Mail Express service.
For more information and tips on mailing and shipping packages during the holiday season, visit www.usps.com.