According to the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), 20 billion pieces of mail are delivered between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas. Want your letter, card or package to be one of them? Here are the mailing guidelines for the 2004 holiday season from the USPS. Note that some of these are new this year.
Suggested Mailing Dates
During the peak of the Iraq war, military mail volume to the Persian Gulf region jumped more than 130 fold to a level of 400,000 pounds per day. Since the beginning of the operation, over 650 dedicated mail-only contract flights have been sent to the Persian Gulf and we continue to send a 747 freighter of APO/FPO mail to the region each day. Starting in November and continuing through the end of December, the number of dedicated contract flights each day has more than doubled.
The recommended deadline for timely delivery for Parcel Air Lift, one of economical services, is four days away. Mail by this Saturday, Dec. 4Use Priority Mail until Monday, December 6 to APOs with ZIP Codes beginning with 093; others until December 11 via Priority; then check with your local Post Office for Military Express Mail Service availability.
Mailing within the U.S.
Switch from Parcel Post to Priority Mail by Tuesday, December 14.
Start using Express Mail on Thursday, December 23.
Global Air Mail to Africa, Central and South America, Dec. 6; to the rest of the world, Dec. 13
Global Express. Dec. 11 (Africa, Europe, Central and South America) Dec. 17 all others. (*Canada: Dec. 18).Global Express Guaranteed. Dec. 20* (*Canada: Dec. 21)
Write, type, or print complete address and return address.
Don't know ZIP? Never guess.
Use usps.com's online ZIP Code locator
When flying, do not transport wrapped gifts in carry on luggage. Instead, mail them in advance.
Use a sturdy box to protect contents and cushion the contents.
Be careful using previously mailed boxes: old addresses and barcodes cause confusion -- mark through them completely.
Remove batteries from toys. Wrap and place separately.
When packaging powders, make sure they are in padded, sift-proof envelopes.
If mailing framed pictures, disassemble and wrap the frame and glass separately.
Enclose a card listing the contents along with the sender and recipient's address.
Packing materials, boxes, padding materials are available at the Post Office.
Use Click-N-Ship(TM) on usps.com to buy postage for packages and avoid trips to the Post Office.
USPS also suggests using one of their more than 2,500 virtual stand-alone Post Offices, called Automated Postal Centers (APCs). APCs dispense the same dollar-bill sized sheet of First-Class Mail stamps currently available through ATMs. Using credit or debit cards, customers can mail packages weighing up to 70 pounds. The APC has a built-in electronic scale and allows customers to calculate and obtain postage strips in any amount for Express Mail, Priority Mail, First-Class Mail, and Parcel Post mailings. APCs also provide extensive mailing information along with ZIP Code lookup.