Holiday happenings

It’s only October but we’re already helping the holidays happen!

By Sue Brennan

What a crazy fast year it’s been! You’re thinking the holidays were only a few months ago, right? All the online shopping. All those packages. All that stress. Whew! And, yes, I realize it’s only October — early October, at that — and I know you think you have plenty of time … but here’s the thing, you don’t! There are only seven and a half weeks until Black Friday! Eight weeks until Hanukkah. Less than 11 weeks until Christmas and Kwanzaa! The holidays are coming whether you’re ready or not. And they will be here fast. We want to help you get prepared because we know how stressful it can be!

We’re introducing Holiday Happenings. For the next 13 weeks we’ll be in holiday mode, sharing tips, ideas, and solutions to help you relax a little and maybe even give you enough time to kick back and enjoy some eggnog.

New content will be posted weekly. In addition to shipping deadlines, holiday stamps, packaging suggestions, and ways to keep you safe and secure, we’ll also be sharing some fun Postal Service history and offering a few tips on shipping more eco-friendly. We’ll also be providing info on how to get the North Pole postmark on your greeting cards, and that jolly guy in red will definitely be making an appearance — the USPS Operation Santa program is back and will be better than ever this year.

Each year, tens of thousands of letters are sent to Santa through the USPS Operation Santa program. Most ask for the latest toys and games. Some ask for clothes, shoes, and necessities. A few ask for other types of help for themselves and their loved ones. The 109-year old USPS Operation Santa program allows individuals and organizations to adopt letters and send thoughtful, heartfelt gifts by providing assistance to Santa, helping children and families have a happier holiday one letter to Santa at a time.

Information about the program — including launch dates, how to write the perfect letter to Santa, where to send it, how to register, and how to ship — can be found at USPSOperationSanta.com and on the Postal Service Holiday Newsroom at usps.com/holidaynews.

The Holiday Newsroom is the place to go for news releases, fact sheets, infographics, videos, and other content. Bookmark the site. You’ll be visiting frequently!

The Postal Service delivers the holidays — whether it’s at the doorstep, the neighborhood Post Office location or online at usps.com. This Is Our Season! We’ve been helping holidays happen for more than 246 years — It’s What We Do!

For your convenience, here are a few of the most frequently asked questions we receive during the holidays:

  1. What hours will my Post Office be open during the holidays?
    This holiday season, retail hours will be expanded in select locations. Go to usps.com/locator and enter your ZIP Code for hours at a specific location. Post Office locations will be open Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Some Post Office locations may have extended hours leading up to the holidays, while others may have limited hours on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24. Customers should always check with their local Post Office for hours of operation. All offices will be closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Priority Mail Express will be delivered. Post Office locations will be open regular operating hours on Dec. 27 and Jan. 3.
  2. What can I give my mail carrier as a holiday gift?
    All Postal Service employees, including mail 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 (this includes store, restaurant or mall gift cards). However, cash and cash equivalents, such as checks or gift cards that can be used like credit cards (with Visa, MasterCard or American Express logos) must never be accepted in any amount.
  3. Why aren’t military packages free?
    By law, each class of mail must cover its applicable costs. While the U.S. Postal Service is legally required to charge for its services, it does offer a $1.50 postage discount on Large Flat Rate Priority Mail boxes going to APO / FPO / DPO (Army Post Office, Fleet Post Office. Diplomatic Post Office) destinations. The Postal Service is proud to employ nearly 73,000 veterans and understands the importance of sending packages to military and diplomatic members serving abroad, especially during the holidays.
  4. Where can I get more information about what the Postal Service is doing during the holidays?
    The Postal Service has a variety of ways for customers to get updated information.
    • Postal Service official website, usps.com. The Postal Service website is both informational and transactional. It’s the best place for business and residential customers to learn how to send and receive mail. Customers can access quick tools to find a Post Office location, track packages, print labels, buy stamps, order free supplies, sign up for Informed Delivery notifications and more.
    • The Holiday Newsroom, usps.com/holidaynews. Customers can find news releases, shipping deadlines, fact sheets, how-to videos, infographics, information about how to get the North Pole postmark and the USPS Operation Santa program and much more.
USPS Postmaster van illustration.