PDT Staff Writer
We've all heard of the busiest shopping days of the year, but did you know there's also a busiest mailing day of the year?
The Monday before the week of Christmas is always the busiest mailing day of the year, according to the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) in Columbus. The USPS expects to deliver 19 billion letters, packages and cards between Thanksgiving and Christmas, culminating on Monday (Dec. 15) when 960 million cards and letters will be processed on Ohio.
"I think everyone is waiting later in the month to do their shopping, and once they do that shopping over the weekend, Monday is normally the day," Susan Shaw, postmaster of the Portsmouth Post Office, said.
She said she isn't sure how much mail passes through the Portsmouth office, individually, this week, but said it's about double the average daily volume.
"Monday I think we sent a couple of hampers (of mail), and Tuesday a couple of hampers, with about 10,000 pieces in each. Normally during the week, if it's not Christmas, it's like half a hamper," Shaw said.
Patience will certainly be asked of anyone hoping to visit the post office on Monday, but there are a few things you can do to help speed things along.
"We're open from 8:30 (a.m.) to 5:30 (p.m.), and a lot of people always come at lunchtime. That's obviously going to be our busiest time. If they could come a little before lunch, or wait until after 1 p.m., it'll be steady. It also depends on the weather," she said.
Shaw said they were ordered by Washington to remove all the stamp machines around the county, because they were too expensive to repair. Stamps can still be purchased at various businesses and retailers around the county, and can be printed in advance from the USPS Web site (www.usps.com).
"If they pay it online then they can drop it at the back dock, and they don't have to wait in line," she said.
For the safety of your delivery, Shaw also recommends that if you're mailing a package, you write the recipient's name and address inside the box also -- in case it gets accidentally opened during delivery.
"And never send cash through the mail. That's not a good idea," she warns. "They don't need to have brown paper around the boxes, or string, or anything like that, because they get caught in the machines. If they just have a mailing label on a box they can mail it that way."
After the busiest mailing day of the year, all of it has to be delivered, leading to the busiest delivery day of the year on Wednesday (Dec. 17). In order to have your mail delivered in time for Christmas, the USPS recommends the following mail-by dates: