The 365-million packages expected to be delivered this holiday season represent a 20-percent increase over 2011, according to the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).
USPS projects the record-breaking increase in its competitive package business due to consumers' growing fondness for shopping online. In total, nearly 18 billion cards, letters and packages will be delivered between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve.
The busiest mailing day for holiday cards/packages is Monday, December 17, when more than 655 million pieces of mail are expected to be processed -- compared to 538-million on an average day. The busiest delivery day for letters will be Wednesday, Dec. 19 and the busiest day for packages will be Thursday, Dec. 20.
Locally, Little Rock expects 650,000 cards and letters and approximately 75,000 outgoing Priority Mail packages to be processed.
All Post Offices will be open Christmas Eve, Monday, Dec. 24, and New Year's Eve, Monday, Dec. 31, but some will have shortened retail lobby hours and close at noon. Mail delivery for Dec. 24 and Dec. 31 will be the same as any other Monday.
Revised hours will be posted at each Post Office for Dec. 24 and Dec. 31 hours of operation. Commercial customers should check with their Business Mail Entry Units for Dec. 24 and Dec. 31 hours of operation.
Customers are encouraged to go online to usps.com or call 1-800-ASK-USPS for information about specific Post Offices. In addition, mail should be deposited into blue collection mailboxes before noon for early pickup on Dec. 24 and Dec. 31. Customers requiring postal services later that day are encouraged to contact their local Postmaster.
In observance of the holidays, Post Offices will be closed Tuesday, Dec. 25, and Tuesday, Jan. 1. Only Express Mail will be delivered on Christmas Day and New Year's Day in most major metro areas.
Post Offices will resume regular business hours on Wednesday, Dec. 26 and Wednesday, Jan. 2.