Posts Tagged Holiday Mail
Holiday Mailing Tips
Follow these helpful tips for successful holiday mailing.
Here, from the U.S. Postal Service, are suggested tips for preparing and mailing cards, letters and packages this holiday season.
Mailing Greeting Cards
Customers who receive door delivery are welcome to give their holiday and other mail they are sending to their letter carrier, rather than placing it in a collection box or making a special trip to the post office. Customers who receive curbside delivery may leave their mail in their receptacle for pickup.
- PRINT addresses clearly.
- Include all address elements (apartment numbers, suite numbers, directional information for streets, etc.).
- Include both “to” and “from” information on packages – and only on one side; no extra writing.
- Never guess a ZIP Code — NO ZIP is better than WRONG ZIP! Check USPS.com for a convenient ZIP code look up tool.
- Select a box that is strong enough to protect the contents. Leave space for cushioning inside the carton.
- Package contents with shredded or rolled newspaper, bubble wrap, or Styrofoam peanuts. Plain air-popped popcorn is also good for cushioning; it’s inexpensive and environmentally friendly. Pack tightly to avoid shifting.
- Always use tape that is designed for shipping, such as pressure-sensitive tape, nylon-reinforced tape, paper tape, or glass-reinforced pressure-sensitive tape.
- Do not use wrapping paper, string, masking tape, or cellophane tape.
- Put the delivery and return addresses on only one side of the package.
- Recommendation: Place an index card inside the package that contains the sender’s address and the recipient’s address along with a list of the contents. This will help us re-pack boxes that were improperly wrapped and came apart during transporting and processing and help ensure that the package is either sent to its destination or back to the sender.
- Take packages that weigh at least 1 pound into the post office for mailing. Do not put boxes into your neighborhood mailbox or expect for your mail carrier to pick them up for you.
- Obtain Express Mail and Priority Mail boxes, envelopes, and tubes for free from your post office.
Prior to Mailing
- 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 mailing box.
- Access the Postal Service’s web site, usps.com, for postage calculations, the latest addressing information, and unique gifts. Avoid waiting in line for your Holiday stamps by using Stamps by Phone (1-800-STAMP24), Stamps by Mail, or stamps from postal self-service vending machines, neighborhood retail outlets and ATMs.
- Sign up for text and email alerts to track your package. Just go to My USPS.com
USPS 7 Day Service for Holiday Mail
Getting everything done – both personal and professional – during the holiday season can be tough. The Postal Service is stepping in to help you out by offering seven day a week delivery in major cities and high volume areas beginning November 17th through Christmas day.
They expect double digit growth of their package services during this period – up roughly 12% over the same period last year. The expectation is that they will handle 450 – 470 million packages. This is in large part due to continued e-commerce growth and improvements to Priority Mail services.
“Football has its season. But the holidays? That’s our season,” said Donahoe. “That’s crunch time for us, and year after year, we step up our game. E-commerce package business continues to be a big player now more than ever, so we’ve enhanced our network to ensure America that we’ll deliver their cards, gifts and letters in time for the holidays.”
USPS’ competitors recently announced increases to their services, while the Postal Service lowered some of its prices for businesses and other large shippers. The reduced Priority Mail pricing has affordable options and improved tracking ability.
“The Postal Service will be out making deliveries every single day during the holiday season, including Christmas Day,” said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. “During the holidays, no carrier makes more deliveries to more places than the Postal Service, and this year, we’re raising the bar with enhanced tracking and Sunday delivery.”
With the continued growth of online retailers, more products are shipped directly to consumers.
“Every household in America relies on us to get their packages in time for the holidays, and we take great pride in taking on that responsibility,” said Donahoe. “We’re prepared to do whatever it takes to deliver for our customers.”
2014 Christmas Shipping Deadlines
For expected delivery of holiday mail and packages by Christmas, the Postal Service recommends keeping the following mailing and shipping deadlines in mind:
- Dec. 2 – First-Class Mail International/Priority Mail International
- Dec. 10 – Priority Mail Express International
- Dec. 15 – Standard Post
- Dec. 17 – Global Express Guaranteed
- Dec. 20 – First-Class Mail/Priority Mail (domestic)
- Dec. 23 – Priority Mail Express (domestic)
Skip the lines and ship online
Consumers can avoid holiday hassles by visiting usps.com — the Postal Service’s website that will help make mailing and shipping easier. Nearly 75 million customers will skip the trip to the Post Office altogether and take advantage of convenient online shipping this holiday season. Click-N-Ship and other online services allow customers to print shipping labels, order free Priority Mail boxes, purchase postage and even request free next-day Package Pickup.
Next week’s blog? Our annual guide to holiday shipping tricks and tips!
USPS | 2014 Holiday Shipping Dates
September 15, 2014
Pricing — keeping you informed about the prices and mailing standards of the United States Postal Service
With the holiday season approaching, we are reminding friends and families to mail early to ensure delivery of their holiday cards and packages, especially to APO/FPO/DPO destination addresses, by December 25. Deadlines for mailing to specific APO/FPO/DPO ZIP Codes vary according to the specific classes of mail being sent to them. They are listed below.
We also remind mailers that all mail addressed to overseas military/diplomatic Post Offices is subject to certain conditions or restrictions regarding content, preparation and handling.
Those restrictions are listed by individual APO/FPO/DPO ZIP Code in each Postal Bulletin. To access this listing on the Internet, go to pe.usps.com, click Postal Bulletins in the blue navigation bar, and then select the Pull-Out Information section.
|Domestic Mail Class/Product||Cut Off Date|
|First-Class Mail®||Dec. 20|
|Priority Mail®||Dec. 20|
|Priority Mail Express®*||Dec. 23|
|Standard Post™||Dec. 15|
|DNDC Drop Ship||Dec. 19|
|DDU Drop Ship||Dec. 22|
|Priority Mail Express Military™ APO/FPO/DPO**|
* Priority Mail Express postage refund eligibility is adjusted for shipments mailed Dec. 22-25
** See additional information below
|Mail Addressed To||Priority Mail Express Military Service (PMEMS)1||First-Class Mail Letters and Cards||Priority Mail||Parcel Airlift Mail (PAL) 2||Space Available Mail (SAM) 3||Standard Post|
|APO/FPO/DPO AE ZIPs 090-092||Dec. 17||Dec. 10||Dec. 10||Dec. 3||Nov. 26||Nov. 8|
|APO/FPO/DPO AE ZIP 093||N/A||Dec. 3||Dec. 3||Dec. 3||Nov. 26||Nov. 8|
|APO/FPO/DPO AE ZIPs 094-098||Dec. 17||Dec. 10||Dec. 10||Dec. 3||Nov. 26||Nov. 8|
|APO/FPO/DPO AA ZIP 340||Dec. 17||Dec. 10||Dec. 10||Dec. 3||Nov. 26||Nov. 8|
|APO/FPO/DPO AP ZIPs 962-966||Dec. 17||Dec. 10||Dec. 10||Dec. 3||Nov. 26||Nov. 8|
1 PMEMS: is available to selected military and diplomatic Post Offices. Check with your local Post Office to determine if this service is available to an APO/FPO/DPO address.
2 PAL: is a service that provides air transportation for parcels on a space-available basis. It is available for Standard Post items not exceeding 30 pounds in weight and 60 inches in length and girth combined. The applicable PAL fee must be paid in addition to the regular surface price of postage for each addressed piece sent by PAL service.
3 SAM: parcels are paid at Standard Post prices with maximum weight and size limits of 15 pounds and 60 inches in length and girth combined. SAM parcels are first transported domestically by surface and then to overseas destinations by air on a space-available basis.
|International Mail Addressed To||Global Express Guaranteed®
|Priority Mail Express International™
|Priority Mail International®
|First-Class Package International Service™
|Africa||Dec. 18||Dec. 10||Dec. 2||Dec. 2|
|Asia/Pacific Rim||Dec. 17||Dec. 14||Dec. 9||Dec. 9|
|Australia/New Zealand||Dec. 17||Dec. 14||Dec. 9||Dec. 9|
|Canada||Dec. 19||Dec. 16||Dec. 12||Dec. 9|
|Caribbean||Dec. 18||Dec. 14||Dec. 12||Dec. 9|
|Central & South America||Dec. 18||Dec. 12||Dec. 2||Dec. 2|
|Mexico||Dec. 19||Dec. 14||Dec. 9||Dec. 9|
|Europe||Dec. 18||Dec. 14||Dec. 12||Dec. 9|
|Middle East||Dec. 17||Dec. 14||Dec. 12||Dec. 9|
***GXG Notes 1) Cutoff date does not take into account time needed for customs clearance 2) Should allocate extra transit day(s) for delivery outside major cities.
|2014 Holiday Season Import Dates (Provides mailing guidelines for foreign postal partners in order to achieve December 25 delivery in the U.S.)|
|Dec. 9||Dec. 6||Dec. 15||Dec. 13||Dec. 18|
|December 6 Last day to send parcel post packages via surface transportation|
|December 9 Last day to send letters, flats, and small packages via surface transportation|
|December 13 Last day to send priority packages via air transportation|
|December 15 Last day to send letters, flats, and small packages via air transportation|
|December 18 Last day to send Express Mail Service items (any shape)|
|UPU Mail class by code|
|LC = Letters, aerogrammes (USPS no longer offers outbound aerogrammes), cards and letter packages|
|AO = Newspapers, magazines, matter for the blind, printed matter, small packages|
|CP = Packages – parcel post (surface), priority (air)|
The Domestic Mail Manual (DMM®) and DMM Advisories are available on Postal Explorer® (pe.usps.com)
Tips for Preparing Your Holiday Mail
With the holiday season quickly approaching it’s time to start thinking about your holiday mailings! Whether it’s sending party invitations to a Christmas gift exchange or holiday greeting cards to your friends and family there are several things to keep in mind for this special mail.
– Accessorize your mail with holiday specific stamps
Each year the USPS releases several different stamps that are specifically designed to help event specific mail stand out and feel more personalized. There are many options available and can help add some character to your mail. Below are the stamps available for the 2012 holiday season from the USPS:
– If you’re mailing an invitation to a holiday party and are including an RSVP that needs to be mailed back, apply a stamp to encourage recipient response. You’re more likely to get responses faster and in larger number if you make it easier for guests to respond. Not only that I’m certain they’ll be appreciative of your forethought in paying the postage!
– To make your mail feel more personalized try using a font that resembles hand writing either to address the envelope or compose the message in the card or invitation. Using handwritten fonts is a great way to trick recipients into thinking their mail piece was written and addressed by hand. Below are a few examples of some commonly used handwriting fonts available in Microsoft Word:
– Postage rates will vary depending on the size and weight of your mail piece. There are some unusual holiday cards sold in stores anymore – with pop ups, irregular sizes, and protruding pieces such as bows and decals. These irregular cards may require additional postage or even worse be damaged during high speed sorting due to non-uniformed thickness. If you are in doubt and think your mail may need extra postage or is not uniformly thick check with your local post office first! If incorrect postage has been applied then your mail will be returned to you and your cards may not reach the recipients in time for the holiday – now that’s a real Bah Humbugh!
– If you’re looking for an extra special touch to your holiday card or invitation try using a postmark from a special location! There are several post offices in cities across the United States that frequently apply their postmark to mail – cities such as Christmas, FL, Noel, MO, and Santa Claus, IN just to name a few. A postmark will be applied to the outside of the envelope and will include the city from which it was sent. One of the most common postmarks requested during the holiday season is for the North Pole, AK. All you need to do is package and send your completed (including stamps) mail to the following address:
North Pole Christmas Cancellation
5400 Main Trail
Fairbanks, AK 99709-9998
The postmark request mail MUST arrive in Fairbanks before December 15 to meet the Christmas deadline and empty envelopes will not be processed as they are typically damaged during high speed sorting. Think of the possibilities – maybe you could even have Santa send your child a letter this Christmas with an authentic North Pole postmark! Here is a sample of last year’s North Pole postmark complete with Santa Claus crescent:
The holidays are a great time to send a special message to friends and family. Take advantage of all the special offerings the USPS has to add that special touch to your mail this holiday season!