With 16.6 billion cards, letters and packages expected to be delivered this holiday season, the U.S. Postal Service has some tips to get gifts to their destination swiftly and safely.
"The Postal Service is making it easier to ship packages to family and friends this season," said Kim Yates, a spokesperson for the Postal Service in Indianapolis. "Proper addressing and proper packaging will help us give every gift the service it deserves."
The Postal Service recommends the following mail-by dates to ensure your gift arrives on time:
* Dec. 21 -- First-Class Mail and Priority Mail
* Dec. 23 -- Express Mail
The Postal Service also offers the following tips:
* Make sure packages are able to withstand processing without the contents or packaging breaking.
* Cushion items with bubble wrapper, newspaper or foam peanuts so they do not shift during transit. Wrap each item separately when packaging more than one item in the same box.
* Remove batteries from electronic devices and wrap separately.
* Close and shake the box to see if there is enough cushioning. If items are shifting, add more cushioning.
* Mark packages "Fragile" in large print on the outside of the box when shipping materials that might be more likely to break.
* When re-using a box make sure previous labels and markings are covered before mailing.
* Print complete address clearly.
* Always use the proper return address.
The Postal Service offers free, environmentally-friendly Priority Mail and Express Mail boxes and envelopes. These supplies can be ordered at usps.com or picked up at your local post office.