With Christmas quickly approaching, and last-minute shoppers sending gifts across the country to friends and loved ones, Monday marks the busiest mailing day of the year with Wednesday and Thursday following as the busiest delivery day for the United States Postal Service.
Between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve, the postal service will deliver 14.7 billion letters, cards and packages with 420 million of those being packages.
For those who wish for their packages to get to their destinations on time, the best tip always ends up being to mail early.
"The postal service is prepared to handle the double and triple holiday volumes, but Mother Nature sometimes has the last word in timely deliveries," said Teresa Brady, Jamestown postmaster.
She stresses the importance of using proper addressing and sturdy packaging. While boxes may be reused, all previous labels and markings must be covered. Tape designated for shipping must always be used, and customers should avoid using wrapping paper, string or masking tape.
To make things easier for postal office employees, put the delivery and return addresses on only one side of the package. Also, it would be wise to place an index card inside the package with the senders' and recipients' addresses, along with a list of the contents in case of damage during processing. To protect holiday gifts against loss or damage, insurance can be purchased.
"The postal service offers free, flat-rate packaging to make it easier to ship. 'If it fits, it ships,'" said Brady. "Customers may order online for free delivery to their home or business, or pick up supplies at their local post office."
She said the best deals can be found online at usps.com, where people can print postage and request carrier pick-up.
"Having your packages ready for mailing when you arrive at the post office will help us serve you better," Brady said.
She would also like to remind everyone to help letter carriers remain safe by keeping the sidewalks and approach to the mail boxes clear of ice and snow.