Busy Day for Postal Carriers

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Wednesday marked the busiest day of the year for the men and women who carry mail in the United States. The U.S. Postal Service estimates a billion cards letters and packages were delivered. That's 300 million more than a usual day.

And as KKTV discovered, the postal workers don't seem to mind the extra load. They left their headquarters with their trucks and satchels overflowing with holiday mail. But they say it was no burden---delivering the mail this time of year is a pleasure.

Kelvin Huggins relishes his route this time of year. "Instead of all the bills, now it's a lot of Christmas cards, and people look forward to that." Huggins makes good time. Each of his 460 stops takes only about a minute.

The thousands of extra cards in his bag today will leave a lasting impression. Freda Gannon couldn't wait to read her mail. In the batch was a card from a friend she hasn't seen in 20 years. "Although time and miles drift apart, I still remember you and all the fun we had when we had each other," she reads. "Ah, that's wonderful."

Smiles are commonplace at mailboxes these days. Mary Lichlyter found hers full of good cheer. "I save them until after Christmas and them I look at 'em again and read all the letters and I just thank God that I have all these friends who think about me."

Postal workers say 9/11 reduced the flow of holiday cards for a couple of years. But they say this year's volume shows things are finally returning to normal.

If you want your cards and packages to reach their destinations by Christmas, the U.S. Post office has these recommended mailing guidelines:

  • Out-of-state locations: Saturday, Dec. 20
  • In-state locations: Monday, Dec. 22

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    Holiday Mail Tips

    • International Packages: Should be mailed by the week following Thanksgiving and no later than the first week of December to ensure pre-Christmas arrival.

    • Domestic Packages: Those sent by parcel post should be delivered within 7-10 days.

    • Priority Mail: Packages sent after Dec. 14 should be sent Priority Mail which should be delivered within in 2-3 days.

    • Express Mail: Express Mail offers next-day delivery, including Christmas Day, and beginning Dec. 16, is the best way to ensure pre-Christmas delivery of packages.

    Addressing Tips

    • Write, type or print the complete address neatly. Make sure to include suffixes such as Ave. Blvd. and St., as well as locators such as N, W, SW.

    • Don’t forget the ZIP code, but if you aren’t sure what it is, don’t guess. Verify the ZIP Code here. Use the four-digit add-on, ZIP+4; hyphenate the ZIP+4.

    • Always use a return address.

    • Always use the two-letter state abbreviations and common abbreviations. View the abbreviations chart.

    Packaging Tips

    • Select a box that is strong enough to protect the contents. Leave space for cushioning inside the carton.

    • Cushion package contents with shredded or rolled newspaper, bubble wrap or Styrofoam peanuts. Pack tightly to avoid shifting.

    • Stuff glass and fragile hollow items, like vases, with newspaper or packing material to avoid damage due to shock. When mailing framed photographs, take the glass out of the frame and wrap it separately.

    • Remove batteries from toys. Wrap and place them next to the toys in the package.

    • Always use tape that is designed for shipping, such as pressure-sensitive tape, nylon-reinforced craft paper tape or glass-reinforced pressure-sensitive tape.

    • Do not sue wrapping paper, string, masking tape or cellophane tape.

    • Put the delivery and return address on one side only of the package.

    • Place a return label inside the package.

    • Take packages that weigh at least one pound into the post office for mailing.

    Source: www.usps.com (Unites States Postal Service Web site) contributed to this report.