Utah postal officials project a 16 percent increase in the number of packages shipped this holiday season compared to last year, and more than triple the number of cards and letters on Dec 16 compared to an average day. Fully-staffed Post Offices will greet customers, and postal managers will be in lobbies to answer questions and provide assistance.
Self-Service Kiosks, located in 29 postal lobbies across the Wasatch Front, allow customers to purchase stamps, and weigh and mail cards and packages 24/7, using their debit or credit cards. The kisoks can be found in most Salt Lake metro area Post Offices, two Ogden Post Offices – Ben Lomond and Mount Ogden; and all Post Offices in American Fork, Layton, Lehi, Logan, Orem, Pleasant Grove, Provo, Roy, and St. George.
Those looking to avoid the crowds, and save some time and money, are encouraged to ship from home for the holidays at usps.com where prices are up to 11 percent lower than Post Offices, and customers can request a free pickup of their packages by their letter carrier.
In addition to the nearly 200 Post Offices in Utah there are also more than 30 full-service Contract Post Offices. To find the nearest postal location, call 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777) or go to usps.com and click on “Find USPS Locations.”
“We encourage our customers to get those cards and packages in the mail as soon as possible, and to take advantage of time and money saving options, like shipping packages online at usps.com or using one of our Self Service-Kiosks,” said USPS District Manager Jimmy Wolf.
Nationwide the Postal Service expects to deliver 420 million packages this holiday season – a 12 percent increase over last year. Overall, the Postal Service projects to handle nearly 15 billion cards, packages and letters between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. Dec. 19 is expected to be the busiest delivery day of the year for packages.
Suggested mail-by dates for cards and packages destined for U.S. addresses are: Dec. 20 for First-Class Mail, Dec. 21 for Priority Mail, and Dec. 23 for Priority Mail Express.
For international destinations, Global Express Guaranteed is available through Dec. 18 for most countries (Dec. 19 if mailing to Canada).
Tips for Holiday Mailing and Shipping
Confirm addresses. Print addresses clearly and be sure to include all address elements — apartment numbers, suite numbers and directional information for streets. For example: 123 S Main St. or 12456 Elm St. N. Include both “to” and “from” information on packages — and only on one side. Never guess a ZIP Code. Visit usps.com to find all ZIP Codes, buy stamps, and more.
Choose the Right Box. Select a box that is strong enough to protect the contents. Be careful when reusing boxes – they can weaken in the shipping process. Customers can purchase ReadyPost boxes at a local Post Office or at the Postal Store on usps.com. Priority Mail boxes, envelopes and tubes are free.
Cushion contents with shredded or rolled newspaper, bubble wrap or foam peanuts. Popped popcorn in a bag is an eco-friendly cushion for fragile gifts. Pack contents tightly to avoid shifting during transit. Always use tape that is designed for shipping. Do not use wrapping paper or string, as they can become entangled in mail processing equipment.
Use envelopes. Lightweight paper folded into a self-mailer can cause problems for automated mail processing machines. Customers are encouraged to place such letters into an envelope before mailing. Those wanting to fold their greetings into a self-mailer should bring a sample to the Post Office to ensure it meets mailing standards.
Many Post Offices now offer greeting cards and gift cards – the single most requested holiday gift. Need holiday stamps? Ask your carrier for a Stamps-by-Mail form, buy online at usps.com, or by phone at 1-800-STAMP-24 (1-800-782-6724).
Send gift cards in a padded envelope. Avoid putting several photographs or gift cards in an envelope with your holiday card. It makes the envelope less flexible to go through the postal system. It’s best to send additional items in a separate, padded envelope.