WASHINGTON (KTVI) — The United States Postal Service is reminding people to send gifts early to their loved ones.

The 2020 holiday season set a record for the USPS, saying, “13 billion letters, cards, and packages were processed and delivered under some of the most difficult circumstances we’ve faced in the past century.”

USPS said it expects to deliver more mail and packages to homes between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day than any other shipper. It is anticipating between 850 million and 950 million packages during that time. “The total number of letters, cards, and packages processed and delivered is estimated to be more than 12 billion,” according to USPS.

Sunday delivery will begin on Nov. 28 in places with high package volumes. USPS already delivers on Sundays in most major cities. It expects to deliver more than 9.7 million packages each Sunday throughout the holiday season. USPS mail carriers will also deliver packages for an additional fee on Christmas Day in select locations.

In preparation for the high-volume season, USPS leased 7.5 million square feet of additional space across over 40 annexes “to handle the increase in the number of packages being mailed.”

The Postal Service is also hiring for over 40,000 seasonal jobs to help will mail processing and delivery.

USPS said their busiest time of year begins two weeks before Christmas. It expects nearly 2.3 billion pieces of first-class mail to be processed and delivered the week of Dec. 13.

Here are the shipping deadlines for 2021:

  • Dec. 9 — APO/FPO/DPO (all ZIP Codes) Priority Mail and First-Class Mail
  • Dec. 15 — USPS Retail Ground service
  • Dec. 16 — APO/FPO/DPO (except ZIP Code 093) USPS Priority Mail Express Military service
  • Dec. 17 — First-Class Mail service (including greeting cards)
  • Dec. 17 — First-Class packages (up to 15.99 ounces)
  • Dec. 18 — Priority Mail service
  • Dec. 23 — Priority Mail Express* service

Here are some tips for making shipping easier:

  • Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes are available at Post Office locations or online at usps.com/freeboxes.
  • The Click-N-Ship feature allows you to create shipping labels and pay for postage online at usps.com/ship.
  • Schedule a free Package Pickup when the carrier delivers your mail. It’s free regardless of the number of packages. Pickups can be scheduled at usps.com/pickup.
  • Mail and packages that weigh more than 10 ounces or are more than a half-inch thick and using stamps as postage cannot be dropped into a collection box or left for a carrier to pick up. Instead, take them to a local Post Office.

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