Busy might not be a strong enough word to describe it, but needless to say, the United States Postal Service has it’s work cut out for it during this time of year.
“This is our busiest time of the year,” said George Flood, spokesman for the United States Postal Service. “Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, we’re projected to do about 16.5 billion pieces of mail.
“On an average day, we are getting around 540 pieces of mail a day,” said Flood. “During this time of year, we’re probably doing around 800 million.”
That mail, it should be pointed out, also includes millions of letters to Santa Claus, much of it addressed to the North Pole. At larger Post Offices the number of letters addressed to Santa could reach a half a million.
“We get quite bit, and at the larger offices, like in New York City, we get about a half million during the holidays,” said Flood.
That number is much larger than the East Brunswick Post Office sees (which may be having a down year), and new Postmaster Dwayne Holmes said he looks forward to next year, when he will make it easier for kids to deliver their lists to the North Pole.
“They’ve been coming in since right before Thanksgiving,” said Holmes, who said the office has only received about 200 letters to Santa this year. “Normally, we set out a Santa Box and when the kids see it they say, “Mommy, I wanna send a letter to Santa.’ ”
While those letters keep a lot of postal workers busy, USPS does have a plan. In larger areas, many Santa letters are opened, read by postal workers and volunteers, and answered.
“Since they’re addressed to Santa we’re authorized to open them up,” said Flood. “We have somebody open them up, get a feel for the person writing it, and then put it into a bin or a box to be answered. We actually let people come in and read then and then if they want to, they can ‘adopt’ the letter.”
Flood said that while the USPS tries to have as many letters “adopted” as possible, it’s just impossible. The rest are sent to the mail recovery center and then moved onward.
With Christmas just a few days away, Flood said people also should double check addresses before they mail and can visit www.usps.com to look up zip codes.
“Also, make sure you put the appropriate amount of cushioning around objects you’re shipping,” he said.
Want to mail something in time for the holidays? The time is now.
Today is the last day to ship international via the United States Postal Service if you’re hoping your items arrive by Christmas.
Tuesday, Dec. 20 is the last day to ship via First-Class mail.
Wednesday, Dec. 21 is the last day to ship Priority Mail and Thursday is the last day to ship Express Mail.
Thursday, Dec. 22 the United Parcel Service is still over UPS Next Day Air.
The post office and UPS are closed Saturday and Sunday for Christmas.
FedEx is offering a variety of shipping options throughout the week, and on Sunday Dec. 25 is offering FedEx Same Day shipping.
USPS also recommends using its website – usps.com – to print
shipping labels and pay for postage or using one of their Automated
Postal Centers, which, like ATMs, perform many of the same functions
of a trip to the post office.
The Post office will be open for regular hours on Saturday, and closed on Monday for the Federal holiday.