Post office ready for busiest mailing day


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SALT LAKE CITY -- An avalanche of holiday cards and packages are expected to be mailed at post offices across the nation and throughout Utah today. This is expected to be the busiest mailing day of the year.

Nationally, post offices will handle more than 830 million pieces of mail. The U.S. Postal Service says that's an increase of more than 40 percent over the average daily volume of 583 million pieces of mail. An avalanche of 2 million holiday cards and packages will pile up at post offices around the state.

**Holiday shipping cutoff dates (domestic):**- Dec. 16 - Parcel Post - Dec. 21 - First-Class Mail - Dec. 21 - Priority Mail - Dec. 23 - Express Mail

Source: USPS

Ron Hubrich, with the U.S. Postal Service at the downtown Salt Lake City post office, says extra staff is ready for today's rush. "We've done this for 200-something years, so we're ready for this," he says.

Hubrich recommends people mail this week.

"I know Christmas isn't until the end of next week, so people might think, 'Hey, I've got a little bit more time.' But because of weather you just never know what's going to happen. I'd get your cards and packages in the mail sometime this week to make sure they get there," he says.

Allison Caplan was at the post office Monday. She said, "I'm a planner, so I plan things in advance just to make sure I don't have to pay extra money to get it there on time."

Customers can avoid the crowds by using the USPS website to purchase postage, print shipping labels and schedule free package pickup.

"Hand it to your carrier, you don't even need to leave home at all," Hubrich said.

Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes were also available for purchase online. The boxes, available in four different sizes, offer the same rate to any state, starting at $4.95. Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes are also available at post offices nationwide.

**International Mail**
International Mail Addressed To Global Express Guaranteed® (GXG)4\*\*\*Express Mail® International (EMS)5\*Priority Mail® International (PMI)6\*First-Class Mail®
AfricaDec-18Dec-12Dec-4Dec-4
Asia/Pacific RimDec-18Dec-17Dec-11Dec-11
Australia/New Zealand Dec-18Dec-17Dec-11Dec-11
CanadaDec-22Dec-18Dec-14Dec-11
CaribbeanDec-21Dec-17Dec-14Dec-11
Central & South AmericaDec-21Dec-12Dec-4Dec-4
MexicoDec-22Dec-17Dec-11Dec-11
EuropeDec-21Dec-17Dec-14Dec-11
Middle EastDec-18Dec-17Dec-14Dec-11

***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. 3) Last day to ship to Afghanistan and Iraq is Dec 18.
Customers can buy stamps and send many packages 24 hours a day at Automated Postal Centers. The centers dispense stamps, weigh packages and calculate postage for Express Mail, Priority Mail, First-Class Mail and Parcel Post items. There are 2,500 APCs in post office lobbies across the country.

If you are shipping internationally, the deadline to get your packages out in time for Christmas may be over. Your package could arrive in time to some parts of the world if you ship Express.

Postal workers say there is no time like the present. "Locally, I would make sure you get out your letters and packages this week," Hubrich said. "Maybe shovel the walks a bit and get ready for those carriers coming out to your house."

For more information, see the links on this page.

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Story compiled with information from Anne Forester and Randall Jeppesen.

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