Posts Tagged Holiday
USPS 7 Day Service for Holiday Mail
Getting everything done – both personal and professional – during the holiday season can be tough. The Postal Service is stepping in to help you out by offering seven day a week delivery in major cities and high volume areas beginning November 17th through Christmas day.
They expect double digit growth of their package services during this period – up roughly 12% over the same period last year. The expectation is that they will handle 450 – 470 million packages. This is in large part due to continued e-commerce growth and improvements to Priority Mail services.
“Football has its season. But the holidays? That’s our season,” said Donahoe. “That’s crunch time for us, and year after year, we step up our game. E-commerce package business continues to be a big player now more than ever, so we’ve enhanced our network to ensure America that we’ll deliver their cards, gifts and letters in time for the holidays.”
USPS’ competitors recently announced increases to their services, while the Postal Service lowered some of its prices for businesses and other large shippers. The reduced Priority Mail pricing has affordable options and improved tracking ability.
“The Postal Service will be out making deliveries every single day during the holiday season, including Christmas Day,” said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. “During the holidays, no carrier makes more deliveries to more places than the Postal Service, and this year, we’re raising the bar with enhanced tracking and Sunday delivery.”
With the continued growth of online retailers, more products are shipped directly to consumers.
“Every household in America relies on us to get their packages in time for the holidays, and we take great pride in taking on that responsibility,” said Donahoe. “We’re prepared to do whatever it takes to deliver for our customers.”
2014 Christmas Shipping Deadlines
For expected delivery of holiday mail and packages by Christmas, the Postal Service recommends keeping the following mailing and shipping deadlines in mind:
- Dec. 2 – First-Class Mail International/Priority Mail International
- Dec. 10 – Priority Mail Express International
- Dec. 15 – Standard Post
- Dec. 17 – Global Express Guaranteed
- Dec. 20 – First-Class Mail/Priority Mail (domestic)
- Dec. 23 – Priority Mail Express (domestic)
Skip the lines and ship online
Consumers can avoid holiday hassles by visiting usps.com — the Postal Service’s website that will help make mailing and shipping easier. Nearly 75 million customers will skip the trip to the Post Office altogether and take advantage of convenient online shipping this holiday season. Click-N-Ship and other online services allow customers to print shipping labels, order free Priority Mail boxes, purchase postage and even request free next-day Package Pickup.
Next week’s blog? Our annual guide to holiday shipping tricks and tips!
USPS Letters to Santa program (+ some pertinent mailing dates)
Did you know that USPS has an official Letters to Santa program? The program is on a voluntary basis decided at a local level by each Post Office. For 101 years, the Postal Service has been helping make children’s holiday wishes come true.
In 1912 Postmaster General Frank Hitchcock authorized postal employees and citizens to respond to letters. The program is known as Letters to Santa except in New York City where they operate an “Operation Santa” program.
Hundreds of thousands of children of all ages send letters to “Santa Claus, North Pole, Alaska”. Unless these letters contain a complete Alaska address, they remain in the area in which they were mailed. Postal “elves” go through the letters and separate those that express serious need.
Here’s how it works: A person wishing to adopt a letter can go to a Post Office, present valid photo identification, and select one or more letters to take with them and sign the form. The child’s address on the envelope will have been blocked out and the letter assigned a number.
After the individual fulfills the child’s wishes with a gift or special message, he or she returns the letter and gift to the same Post Office and pays the postage. A postal employee will match the number on the letter with the child’s address, apply a label to it and put the package into the mail stream.
It’s not too late to make a child’s wishes come true this season! For estimated delivery by December 24th (this applies to all your outgoing mail not just the Letters to Santa program):
First Class Mail – by Friday, December 20th
Priority Mail – by Saturday, December 21st
Priority Mail Express – by Monday, December 23rd
Choose a box with enough room for cushioning material around the contents. If you’re reusing a box, cover up or black out any old labels and markings.
Place cushioning around your items. Choose packing peanuts, bubble wrap or even newspaper. Close and gently shake the box to see whether there is enough padding. Add more cushioning material if you hear things moving around.
Tape your box shut and reinforce the seams with 2″ wide tape. Use clear or brown packaging tape, reinforced packing tape, or paper tape. Do not use cord, string, or twine because it gets caught in mail processing equipment.
The weight of your package cannot exceed 70 lbs. If you’re planning to use Priority Mail Express™ or Priority Mail® services for faster delivery, length plus girth (distance around the thickest part of the package) can’t exceed 108″. When you use Standard Post™, available at retail Post Office locations, the total can’t be more than 130″.
Happy Holidays from your friends at Strahm Automation!
Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly – Falalalalalalalala
We mailed our annual holiday cards this week and followed up with an email. We like to take a moment to show our appreciation to all of our customers and friends for their business over the past year.
Keep your eyes out for these cards and emails; we’ve included a special QR code and pURL you can use to order a (free!!) personalized 3D Cube or Accordion picture display perfect for your desk or home.
Not sure what to get your friends/family – or even a treat for yourself – these personalized picture displays make a great gift!
Happy Holidays to each and every one of you.
Tips for Preparing Your Holiday Mail
With the holiday season quickly approaching it’s time to start thinking about your holiday mailings! Whether it’s sending party invitations to a Christmas gift exchange or holiday greeting cards to your friends and family there are several things to keep in mind for this special mail.
– Accessorize your mail with holiday specific stamps
Each year the USPS releases several different stamps that are specifically designed to help event specific mail stand out and feel more personalized. There are many options available and can help add some character to your mail. Below are the stamps available for the 2012 holiday season from the USPS:
– If you’re mailing an invitation to a holiday party and are including an RSVP that needs to be mailed back, apply a stamp to encourage recipient response. You’re more likely to get responses faster and in larger number if you make it easier for guests to respond. Not only that I’m certain they’ll be appreciative of your forethought in paying the postage!
– To make your mail feel more personalized try using a font that resembles hand writing either to address the envelope or compose the message in the card or invitation. Using handwritten fonts is a great way to trick recipients into thinking their mail piece was written and addressed by hand. Below are a few examples of some commonly used handwriting fonts available in Microsoft Word:
– Postage rates will vary depending on the size and weight of your mail piece. There are some unusual holiday cards sold in stores anymore – with pop ups, irregular sizes, and protruding pieces such as bows and decals. These irregular cards may require additional postage or even worse be damaged during high speed sorting due to non-uniformed thickness. If you are in doubt and think your mail may need extra postage or is not uniformly thick check with your local post office first! If incorrect postage has been applied then your mail will be returned to you and your cards may not reach the recipients in time for the holiday – now that’s a real Bah Humbugh!
– If you’re looking for an extra special touch to your holiday card or invitation try using a postmark from a special location! There are several post offices in cities across the United States that frequently apply their postmark to mail – cities such as Christmas, FL, Noel, MO, and Santa Claus, IN just to name a few. A postmark will be applied to the outside of the envelope and will include the city from which it was sent. One of the most common postmarks requested during the holiday season is for the North Pole, AK. All you need to do is package and send your completed (including stamps) mail to the following address:
North Pole Christmas Cancellation
5400 Main Trail
Fairbanks, AK 99709-9998
The postmark request mail MUST arrive in Fairbanks before December 15 to meet the Christmas deadline and empty envelopes will not be processed as they are typically damaged during high speed sorting. Think of the possibilities – maybe you could even have Santa send your child a letter this Christmas with an authentic North Pole postmark! Here is a sample of last year’s North Pole postmark complete with Santa Claus crescent:
The holidays are a great time to send a special message to friends and family. Take advantage of all the special offerings the USPS has to add that special touch to your mail this holiday season!
Holiday Mailing Tips
Follow these helpful tips for successful holiday mailing.
Mailing Greeting Cards Customers who receive door delivery are welcome to give their holiday and other mail they are sending to their letter carrier, rather than placing it in a collection box or making a special trip to the post office. Customers who receive curbside delivery may leave their mail in their receptacle for pickup.
- PRINT addresses clearly.
- Include all address elements (apartment numbers, suite numbers, directional information for streets, etc.).
- Include both “to” and “from” information on packages – and only on one side; no extra writing.
- Never guess a ZIP Code — NO ZIP is better than WRONG ZIP! Check USPS.com for a convenient ZIP code look up tool.
- Select a box that is strong enough to protect the contents. Leave space for cushioning inside the carton.
- Package contents with shredded or rolled newspaper, bubble wrap, or Styrofoam peanuts. Plain air-popped popcorn is also good for cushioning; it’s inexpensive and environmentally friendly. Pack tightly to avoid shifting.
- Always use tape that is designed for shipping, such as pressure-sensitive tape, nylon-reinforced tape, paper tape, or glass-reinforced pressure-sensitive tape.
- Do not use wrapping paper, string, masking tape, or cellophane tape.
- Put the delivery and return addresses on only one side of the package.
- Recommendation: Place an index card inside the package that contains the sender’s address and the recipient’s address along with a list of the contents. This will help us re-pack boxes that were improperly wrapped and came apart during transporting and processing and help ensure that the package is either sent to its destination or back to the sender.
- Take packages that weigh at least 1 pound into the post office for mailing. Do not put boxes into your neighborhood mailbox or expect for your mail carrier to pick them up for you.
- Obtain Express Mail and Priority Mail boxes, envelopes, and tubes for free from your post office.
Prior to Mailing
- Stuff glass and fragile hollow items, like vases, with newspaper or packing material to avoid damage due to shock. When mailing framed photographs, take the glass out of the frame and wrap it separately.
- Remove batteries from toys. Wrap and place them next to the toys in the mailing box.
- Access the Postal Service’s web site, www.usps.com, for postage calculations, the latest addressing information, and unique gifts. Avoid waiting in line for your Holiday stamps by using Stamps by Phone (1-800-STAMP24), Stamps by Mail, or stamps from postal self-service vending machines, neighborhood retail outlets and ATMs.
USPS Holiday Mail Dates!
Holiday Dates for Domestic Mail
Calculated for December 25, 2012.
* Some Express Mail destinations may have extended service commitments.
Holiday Dates for Military Mail
Calculated for December 25, 2012.
- EMMS is available to selected military/diplomatic Post Offices™. Check with your local Post Office to determine if this service is available to an APO/FPO/DPO address.
- PAL is a service that provides air transportation for parcels on a space-available basis. It is available for Parcel Post items not exceeding 30 lbs in weight or 60″ in length and girth combined. The applicable PAL fee must be paid in addition to the regular surface price for each addressed piece sent by PAL service.
- SAM parcels are paid at Parcel Post prices with maximum weight and size limits of 15 lbs and 60″ in length and girth combined. SAM parcels are first transported domestically by surface and then to overseas destinations by air on a space-available basis.
Holiday Dates for International Mail
* GXG® Notes:
- Cutoff date does not take into account time needed for customs clearance.
- Should allocate extra transit day(s) for delivery outside major cities.
- Last date to ship to Afghanistan is December 18. Last date to ship to Iraq is December 17. GXG does not deliver to APO and FPO addresses.
Visit: https://www.usps.com/shippingdates/ or https://www.usps.com/holiday/welcome.htm?WT.mc_id=usps_cheer_redirect for more information.
The USPS 2012 Holiday Shopping Promotion offers 2% discount. Below are the details you need to get started!
- Promotion runs November 7th through November 21st 2012.
- Registration is required. Registration is open from September 15th through November 21st.
- You can receive a 2% upfront postage discount on First-Class Mail® presort & automation letters, cards & flats & Standard Mail® with a two-dimensional (2-D) barcode, such as a QR code, that can be read or scanned by a mobile device.
- There must be text near the 2D barcode guiding the customer to scan the barcode and/or information about the landing page.
- The barcode must lead the recipient to a mobile-optimized shopping website that enables the purchase of a product.
- The website must allow the recipient to purchase a product through their mobile device. The sale of services will not qualify. The sale must result in an item being shipped via USPS or other carrier.
- Mailers may also qualify for an additional 1percent rebate on the postage of their qualifying mailings if 0.5% of their orders are fulfilled via Priority Mail® with Delivery Confirmation between November 9, 2012 and December 31, 2012.
- All mailings must be submitted electronically.
- Mailings of automation letters or flats must have IMb.
- Discount is only available at the time of mailing; there is no process to receive a rebate or credit after mail has been accepted by USPS.
More detailed information, including an FAQ can be found here https://ribbs.usps.gov/index.cfm?page=mobilebarcode
U.S. Postal Service Planning 2012 Holiday Mobile Shopping Promotion
Direct Mail Discounts for Online Merchants Timed for Cyber Monday
July 18, 2012
Release No. 12-084
WASHINGTON — Cyber Monday was the busiest shopping day last year. Up 29 percent over 2010, Cyber Monday’s purchasing surge was no doubt due to a number of deals offered by retailers. And with the deal the U.S. Postal Service is planning for online merchants this holiday season, Cyber Monday 2012 could be even better.
Designed to drive online product purchases by putting mobile-optimized promotional offers, coupons and catalogs into consumers’ hands, the U.S. Postal Service’s 2012 Holiday Mobile Shopping Promotion will offer online merchants an upfront 2 percent postage discount on Standard Mail and First-Class Mail letters, flats and cards (presort and automation) that include a mobile barcode or print/mobile technology — such as a QR code — that can be read or scanned by a mobile device and leads the mail recipient to a mobile-optimized shopping website. The promotion will run Nov. 7- Nov. 21, 2012.
Mailers may also qualify for an additional 1 percent postage rebate on their discounted mailings if a portion of their product orders are fulfilled via Priority Mail between Nov. 9, 2012, and Dec. 31, 2012. The 2012 Holiday Mobile Shopping Promotion is subject to approval by the Postal Regulatory Commission.
“This latest pricing incentive solidifies the Postal Service’s leadership role as a catalyst of e-commerce trade between consumers and online merchants,” said Gary Reblin, vice president, Domestic Products. “The reliability of mail to serve as the on-ramp for mobile commerce, along with the tremendous growth of mobile devices, gives online merchants a surefire way to generate sales this holiday season.
“By offering a short-term promotion linking mail and mobile devices during the key holiday purchasing timeframe, the Postal Service is providing online merchants with an incentive designed to increase industry adoption of a physical-to-digital marketing approach.”
For additional information on the 2012 Holiday Mobile Shopping Promotion, go to RIBBS. Program registration opens Sept. 15, 2012, and continues through Nov. 21, 2012. Participants must agree to partake in a survey about the promotion.
The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.
Please Note: For broadcast quality video and audio, photo stills and other media resources, visit the USPS Newsroom at http://about.usps.com/news/welcome.htm.
A self-supporting government enterprise, the U.S. Postal Service is the only delivery service that reaches every address in the nation — 151 million residences, businesses and Post Office™ Boxes. The Postal Service™ receives no tax dollars for operating expenses, and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations. With 32,000 retail locations and the most frequently visited website in the federal government, usps.com®, the Postal Service has annual revenue of more than $65 billion and delivers nearly 40 percent of the world’s mail. If it were a private sector company, the U.S. Postal Service would rank 35th in the 2011 Fortune 500. In 2011, Oxford Strategic Consulting ranked the U.S. Postal Service number one in overall service performance of the posts in the top 20 wealthiest nations in the world. Black Enterprise and Hispanic Business magazines ranked the Postal Service as a leader in workforce diversity. The Postal Service has been named the Most Trusted Government Agency for six years and the sixth Most Trusted Business in the nation by the Ponemon Institute.