Even Santa would find it a challenge to deliver all the mail and packages handled by the U.S. Postal Service at Christmastime.
“On average we will process about a 1,000 packages a day,” said McMinnville postmaster Brent Nunley. “During the Christmas season that will increase to about 4,000 a day. It’s quite an increase.”
Nunley said the Christmas rush in McMinnville reflects a nationwide increase in volume that is almost mind boggling. The postmaster offered some examples, noting the entire postal service is projecting it will deliver 13.1 billion cards between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The rush doesn’t pass with Christmas either, Nunley revealed, as a total of 14.7 billion cards are expected to be delivered between Christmas and New Year.
While the 42 employees at the McMinnville office will work extra hours to meet the demand, including 23 carriers who will deliver the increased volume, another challenge is serving the people who flock to the post office to mail their cards and packages.
Nunley said Dec. 16 is traditionally the busiest day at the post office. The post office will process 607 million packages that day alone. There will be an estimated 6 million people who visit post offices around the country that day. About 130 million customers are expected to visit post offices this year.
“We will do our best to keep the lines moving,” Nunley said of meeting demand. “Rest assured, our staff will be serving the public as quickly as possible.”
Due to the heavy volume, Nunley suggests customers get their packages to the post office as early as possible to guarantee delivery by Christmas. For military shipping to soldiers abroad, priority mail should be in by Dec. 17. For other forms of shipping schedules, the post office should be consulted about deadlines. International mail also has deadlines for guaranteed delivery. Those schedules are also available through the post office.
In addition to preparing for the normal rush, the local post office is also preparing to be Santa’s helper this year.
“We are putting up a box for letters to Santa,” said supervisor Sherrie Honea. “It will be located in the main office and will be available after Thanksgiving.”
Any child can write a letter to Santa and place it in the box. Letters with return addresses will receive letters back from Santa, provided the elves are not overloaded with letters. Honea said there are volunteers who will help Santa respond to the letters.
As for shipping gifts and other Christmas items, Nunley suggests double checking the package before shipping. First, Nunley said to double check the address on the package to ensure it is accurate. Customers should also shake the boxes to make sure they are well packed. Nunley says priority mail may be the way to go since it is fast and affordable. Priority mail express shipping is the way to go for last-minute gifts to ensure they arrive by Christmas.
The present schedule for first class mail suggests getting it to the post office by Dec. 20, priority mail by Dec. 21, priority mail express by Dec. 23, and standard post by Dec. 14. A full schedule is available at the post office. Nunley reminds customers online tracking is available through many of the shipping options so you know where your package is at any given point.
As is customary, the post office will also offer special holiday stamps and is expecting to sell 2.7 billion of the special edition stamps this year.