NATION — The holiday season is upon us. Here are some postal facts, tips and deadlines to make the shipping season merry and bright:

Postal facts:

·USPS will handle approximately 16 billion letters, cards and packages during this holiday season. Of those, approximately 900 million will be packages.

· Central PA District Post Offices (ZIP Codes beginning with 169 through 188, 195 and 196) will deliver about 12.5 million packages.

·In many areas, delivery of packages will occur seven days per week (adding Sundays), in the early mornings and evenings to facilitate extra volume.

(Please leave lights on and dogs restrained to keep carriers safe.)

 

Deadlines:

The Postal Service is suggesting these mail-by dates and tips to help customers mail and ship conveniently for the holidays:

• Dec. 15: Priority Mail Express International

• Dec. 14: Retail Ground

• Dec. 20: First-Class Mail

• Dec. 22: Priority Mail Express

 

Delivering Holiday Cheer to Service Members

•APO/FPO First-Class Mail Letters and Cards: Dec. 11

• APO/FPO Priority Mail: Dec. 11

• APO/FPO Priority Mail Express Miliary Service: Dec. 18

 

Stamps

There are a number of Forever holiday stamps for customers to choose from, including: Sparkling Holidays, Madonna and Child, Diwali; Eid; Hanukkah; Kwanzaa, and Global Poinsettia (International).

Holiday stamps can be delivered to any address when ordered through usps.com, by calling 1-800-STAMP-24 or by completing a Stamps-By-Mail form (available from mail carriers).

 

Convenience Options and Services

Go to usps.com to find the full list of Self-Service Kiosks, retailers, contract postal units, and alternate sites for stamp and package services.

 

Preview what’s coming to your mailbox:

Sign up for Informed Delivery today at www.InformedDelivery.com.The free notification feature provides outside images of letter-sized mail destined for home delivery as well as delivery alerts for packages.

 

Visit usps.com to ship and send in just a few clicks:

1. Analyze prices, shipping options and delivery times by using the Calculate a Price tool.

2.Receive a discount at checkout on select products when you print, prepare and pay for shipping labels with Click-N-Ship®.

3.Schedule a next day Package Pickup for no extra charge.

4. Order stamps via usps.com for delivery to your home.

 

How to pack a gift like a pro:

1.Pick a strong and sturdy box, and tape it closed tightly.

2.Cushion contents to protect them during transportation, and wrap glass and other fragile items with extra newspaper or packing material.

3.Place wrapped gift boxes inside a plain larger box.

4.Remove all batteries from electronics.

5.Remember to place an extra shipping label inside the box, so the item can be returned in case the box or label gets damaged.

 

Successful shipping tips:

1.Print addresses clearly and in CAPS.

2.Include complete ‘to’ and ‘from’ info.

3.Check usps.com for the correct ZIP Code — never guess.

4.Put mailing label on the inside of the package, with the contents.

5.Be sure to label a box as ‘FRAGILE’ if it needs to be handled with extra care.

6.Visit usps.com to pay and print postage and schedule a pickup, or drop off your gift for delivery at the Post Office™.

 

Ship gifts across the globe without leaving home:

1.Use the Postage Calculator tool on usps.com to check prices and compare options.

2.Visit usps.com to complete a customs form and pay the postage.

3.Print your shipping label.

4.Schedule a free next day Package Pickup, or drop off your gift at your local Post Office.

 

For letters and cards:

1.Use sturdy envelopes, especially when inserting gift cards inside.

2.If sending a gift card, consider sticking an address label on the gift card; if item is separated from envelope it can be recovered for delivery.

3.Never send cash.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses, and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations