The U.S. Postal Service has set deadlines in order to handle the onslaught of mail and packages that need to be delivered by Christmas.
McMinnville postmaster Brent Nunley said the Christmas rush in McMinnville reflects a nationwide increase in volume that is almost mind-boggling.
Nunley noted the entire Postal Service is projecting it will deliver 15 billion cards, letters, flats and packages during the 2018 holiday season. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, the entire Postal Service is projecting it will deliver 900 million packages.
While the 45 employees at McMinnville’s post office will work extra hours to meet local demand, including 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. 17 is traditionally the busiest day at the post office. The post office will process an estimated 607 million packages that day alone. There will be an estimated 6 million people who visit post offices around the country that day.
“We will do our best to keep the lines moving,” Nunley said. “Rest assured, our staff will be serving the public as quickly as possible.”
Due to 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. 11 for priority mail and first-class mail, or Dec. 18 for priority mail express. International mail also has deadlines for guaranteed delivery. Recommended domestic shipping deadlines are: Dec. 14 for retail ground, Dec. 20 for first-class mail, Dec. 20 for priority mail, and Dec. 22 for priority mail express.
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.
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.
In addition to preparing for the normal rush, the local post office is also preparing to be Santa’s helper.
“We will have our Letters to Santa box out,” said Nunley. “It will be located in the main office.”
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. Nunley said there are volunteers who will help Santa respond to letters.
For more than 50 years, the Postal Service has issued Christmas-themed stamps and is continuing that tradition this year.
Print addresses clearly and include all address elements, such as apartment numbers and directional information (example: 123 S. Main St. Apt. 2B)
Remove batteries from toys. Wrap and place them next to the toys in the mailing box.