2011 holiday facts and information

2011 holiday news »

Official shiipper

• Today December 1, is the official kick-off of the holiday season for the Postal Service
• Busiest mailing day for holiday cards — Tuesday, Dec 20
• Busiest delivery day for holiday cards — Thursday, Dec 22
• Busiest mailing day for holiday packages — Friday, Dec 16
• Busiest delivery day for holiday packages — Monday, Dec 19
• The Postal Service is projecting that 16.5 billion cards, letters and packages will be delivered between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve.
Total holiday volume for same time last year was 16.8 billion pieces — down 1.7%
• On average, the Postal Service processes 551 million pieces of mail every day.
• During the holidays, that volume increases to 589 million pieces of mail daily.

Holidays by the numbers

236 Number of years the U.S. Postal Service has been delivering holiday cheer
16.5 billion Number of cards, letters and packages to be delivered between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve.
2.7 billion Number of letters mailed over the holidays.
801 million Number of pieces of mail processed on Dec. 20, the busiest mailing day of the year.
551 million Average number of pieces of mail processed daily.
589 million Average number of pieces of mail processed daily during the holidays.
30 million In pounds, the amount of mail the Postal Service will process for overseas military installations, including war zones in Afghanistan, as well as Iraq.
155,000 Number of vehicles used to transport holiday mail
3.3 billion Number of holiday stamps the Postal Service has available this year.
97 million Number of customers who visit the Post Office during the holidays.
47.2 million Number of customer visits to usps.com during the holidays.
4.7 million Number of shipping labels printed from home and office using Click-N-Ship during the holidays.

Mail-by dates

Dec. 15 Parcel Post
Dec. 20 First-Class Mail
Dec. 21 Priority Mail, the best bargain in shipping
Dec. 22 Express Mail

Things you should know

2.5 Billion holiday stamps available

National cancellation

All letter mail processed through automation will be cancelled with this postmark:

North Pole postmark

Holiday cards can be postmarked with the North Pole image by sending them to the following address no later than Dec. 10:

ANCHORAGE AK 99530-9998

Letters to Santa/Operation Santa

This year marks the 99th year of the Operation Santa program. More information about the program, including participating postal locations, can be found at usps.com/holidaynewsroom


— Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes are the ultimate gift box

— Save 3-11% and get free delivery confirmation when you create mailing labels and pay postage online

— FREE regardless of the number of packages you’re sending out

Tips to avoid a shipping glitch

Employee tipping policy

All postal employees, including carriers, must comply with the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch. Under these federal regulations, carriers are permitted to accept a gift worth $20 or less from a customer — no cash, please.

Gift cards are permitted at $20 or less with two caveats: 1) the gift card cannot be redeemable for cash money, and 2) the gift card must be issued from a single establishment, not bank or mall issued.

Hiring for the holidays

The Postal Service is operating under a hiring freeze and while some local areas will be bringing in holiday help for a few weeks, it is not happening on a nationwide basis.