Holiday Overview 2012

The U.S. Postal Service® offers simple and convenient solutions to save customers time and money this holiday season. Along with all the usual shipping and shopping solutions our customers have come to expect from the most trusted government agency, this year we plan to deliver a few surprises to help customers manage their hol­idays with a smile. We are offering more choices on when, where, and how to use the Postal Service™. Our team of more than 530,000 postal elves are excited to help custom­ers send cards and mail gifts, so we are reminding them of the mail-by dates — and encouraging them to mail early.

We are also educating customers on the best postal products and services to meet their needs. We’re sending a direct mail piece to nearly 140 million homes, highlighting our core products like Express Mail® and Priority Mail®, international mailing products, the convenience of alternate access and, of course, stamps. On the direct mail mailer, door decals, and take-ones, we’ve incorporated a holiday QR code that takes the “e-holiday” shopper to This “landing page” is designed to assist shippers and shoppers with all their holiday needs by offering simpler ways to ship gifts at®. There, mailers can pay, print, and ship with nothing but ease; when they use they find it’s a breeze.

Santa is coming to town. Children of all ages will delight in the 2012 contemporary holiday stamp design featuring Santa in his sleigh pulled by eight tiny reindeer, guiding us through the most wonderful time of year. The Santa and Sleigh stamp art was inspired by the 1823 poem by Clem­ent C. Moore, “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” also known as “The Night Before Christmas” or “’Twas the Night Before Christmas.”

Besides Santa’s appearance on this year’s holiday stamp, Santa is also featured on an entire line of retail prod­ucts that celebrate the 100th anniversary of our Letters to Santa program, such as a Letters to Santa children’s book, a letter-writing kit, a milk and cookies set, gift bags, gift tags, package stickers, and much more. Look for Letters to Santa holiday gift centers at select Post Offices™ nation­wide and for featured products on in the Postal Store (

Tis the season to offer value — celebrate when you use our Flat Rate Priority Mail products, where Priority Mail boxes and Package Pickup are always free. Unlike other shipping companies, the U.S. Postal Service® does not charge extra for Saturday delivery or add a fuel surcharge. The price you see is the price you pay. Perhaps the great­est bargain of all is the price of a First-Class Mail® postage stamp. At just 45 cents, sending holiday greetings from Washington, DC, to Washington state and every neighbor­hood in between is a bargain. Three cheers for Forever stamps — good forever — for the price of a First-Class Mail stamp. Last year’s stamp design on this yuletide’s holiday greetings is a gift for the sender and truly a reason to rejoice.

Nobody, except maybe Santa, delivers the holidays like the U.S. Postal Service — and we have a 237-year track record to prove it. This year will be no exception. We’re expecting nearly 15.2 billion cards, letters, and packages between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, and on average we will process 562 million pieces of mail every day this holiday season. And when the busiest day to mail holiday cards, letters, and packages rolls around on December 17, we will be ready to accept with a smile the 658 million pieces of mail expected to be processed on that day. Then we’ll deliver it all with a jingle bell in our step and a ho, ho, ho in our hearts on the busiest delivery days, which fall on December 19, for cards and letters and December 20, for packages, all in plenty of time to be home for the holidays.

n Peak Mailing Day: Monday, December 17, for cards, letters and packages. On that day we expect to pro­cess 658 million pieces of mail, the busiest mailing day of the holidays.

n Busiest Delivery Day for Holiday Letters and Cards: Wednesday, December 19.

n Busiest Delivery Day for Holiday Packages: Thurs­day, December 20

Those planning to share the joys of the holiday by send­ing cards and mailing gifts should not miss these recom­mended mail-by dates to ensure their gifts arrive by December 25.