With one week to go until Christmas it's the busiest time of the year at the post office. Local post offices are packed. It's estimated that more than 658 million pieces of mail will be processed Monday. That's about 20 percent more than the average daily volume.
"Typically the Monday of the week before Christmas is our busiest day of the year," said Richard Maher of the U.S. Postal Service. "We're geared up. We're ready for it. We've been doing this for 337 years so we've got it down. We'll be fully staffed and ready to deliver the holidays."
Maher offered a few tips to beat the busy holiday mail season.
"If you can have everything ready to go, that's going to save a lot of time," he said. "Make sure your addresses are complete. Print them out neatly. Use nice, big, block letters so we can read them."
The recommended mail-by dates if you want your card or package to arrive by Christmas are Dec. 20 for first-class mail, Dec. 21 for priority mail and Dec. 22 for express mail.
For those who are too tired after shopping and want to avoid the lines, the U.S. Postal Service also offers the convenience of the Internet for all your shipping needs.
"You can actually print out package labels with the postage, download the postage, pay for it with a credit card, and schedule a free package pickup," Maher said. "Your letter carrier will come the next day and pick up those packages and bring them in."
For the deadlines for particular areas or different types of mail, go to www.usps.com/shippingdates.
For holiday tips and information, go to www.usps.com/holiday.
To find a USPS branch in your area, go to www.usps.com, click "Find Locations" and enter your zip code.