By Carolyn Lee
The Imperial Republican
The Postal Service is expecting to deliver 15 billion pieces of mail this holiday season, including 420 million packages, a 12 percent increase over last year. With that in mind, Imperial Postmaster Jerry Lines has released the Postal Service’s suggested mail-by dates.
For packages to be delivered to military addresses by Christmas, the mail-by date is Dec. 10. To help the families and friends of U.S. military personnel, the Postal Service is offering a $2 discount on its largest Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes.
For international destinations, mail-by dates range from Dec. 2-12, depending on the destination, with Global Express Guaranteed service available through Dec. 18 for most countries.
Suggested mail-by dates for cards and packages destined for U.S. addresses are: Dec. 14 for Standard Post; Dec. 20 for First-Class Mail, Dec. 21 for Priority Mail, and Dec. 23 for Priority Mail Express.
Monday, Dec. 16, is projected to be the busiest mailing day of the year, and Dec. 19 the busiest delivery day for packages. On Dec. 16, six million customers are expected to visit post offices nationwide.
Some features added to Priority Mail this year include free insurance up to $50, improved tracking and an expected delivery date.
Lines said the best advice he can give busy customers is to mail early and ship from home for the holidays.
“Customers can save up to 11 percent off post office retail prices by printing a shipping label online at usps.com, and they can also request a free package pickup if they live on a rural route,” Lines said.
Christmas stamps are now available at the post offices. The Imperial office has already sold out of the religious stamp, but has gingerbread houses, poinsettias and Santa Claus stamps for sale.
Stamps may also be purchased with a Stamps-by-Mail form from a carrier, at usps.com or by phone at 1-800-STAMP-24 (1-800-782-6724).
A total of 2.7 billion holiday stamps were printed this year.