Monday busiest mailing day of year

Published 8:50 pm Saturday, December 12, 2009

During the busiest season of the year for the U.S. Postal Service, Suffolk’s postmaster is encouraging area residents to put their cards and letters in the mail as quickly as possible.

“If they could be in the mail by one in the afternoon, we can advance the mail and give them the best possible service,” postmaster Jim Colston said. “It stops the plant from being bombarded with an overload of mail, and everybody’s mail gets there faster.”

Monday is expected to be the busiest mailing day of the year, according to regional U.S. Postal Service spokeswoman Fran Sansone. The Monday two weeks prior to Christmas is busiest mailing day year after year, as people finish their cards over the weekend and drop them in the mail.

“We expect to cancel (handle) about one million cards and letters on Monday,” Sansone said. That figure is just for the Hampton Roads area — nationwide, about 683 million pieces of mail will be postmarked Monday. On a typical day, post offices in the Hampton Roads area postmark only about 435,000 pieces of mail in one day.

If Monday is the biggest mailing day, that makes Wednesday the biggest delivery day.

“Typically we look at that Wednesday as being the biggest mailing day,” Sansone said. “In most areas, the mail’s going to get there in two days.”

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the postal service will deliver more than 16.6 billion cards, letters and packages, Sansone said.

Colston said the message he tries to get across to patrons of the postal services is that the earlier you mail it, the earlier it gets delivered. That’s true any time of the year, but especially during the holiday season, he said.

“With Christmas cards, it makes a difference if it gets there in two days or three days,” Colston said.

To ensure a card or letter gets to its destination by Christmas, Dec. 21 is the last day for mail going to United States addresses, Sansone said. The next significant deadline is Dec. 18, when express mail to APO and FPO addresses, as well as many international destinations, is due.