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U.S. Postal Service: "This holiday season is expected to be a record-breaker..."

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Posted at 2:46 PM, Dec 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-14 16:56:51-05

More than 2.4 million cards, letters and packages are expected to be mailed in Idaho on Dec. 19, the busiest mailing day of the year, according to U.S. Postal Service officials -- that’s 100,800 pieces per hour, 1,680 per minute, or 28 per second. Nationwide, 611 million pieces of mail (7,072 per second) are expected on the busiest day.

Post Offices will be fully-staffed and managers will be in lobbies on Dec. 19 to answer questions and provide customers assistance to people trying to their packages and mail to destinations before Christmas.

“This holiday season is expected to be a record-breaker for packages, with Postal Service carriers delivering 750 million holiday packages nationwide -- a 12 percent increase from last year -- and double the number of holiday packages delivered just four years ago,” a USPS news release stated.

Locally, Idaho postal carriers are projected to deliver a record 2.1 million packages this holiday season, a 19 percent increase compared to last year.

According to USPS District Manager Darrell Stoke, the strategy for managing the holiday surge includes delivering packages seven days a week through Christmas in larger cities, and early morning deliveries in some locations.

“Our goal is to ensure all those holiday cards and packages are delivered on time,” said Stoke. “The best advice I can give to customers is to mail early.”

Those looking to avoid the crowds -- and save some time -- are encouraged to ship from home for the holidays at usps.com, where more than 3 million customers are expected to print postage-paid shipping labels and request a free pickup of their packages.

Self-Service kiosks, located in twelve postal lobbies across Idaho, allow customers to purchase stamps, weigh and mail cards and packages 24/7, using their debit or credit cards. The Kiosks are located at the Boise Main Post Office, Boise Cole Village station, Boise Five Mile station, and in Caldwell, Coeur D’Alene, Hayden, Idaho Falls, Meridian, Nampa, Pocatello Main, Twin Falls Pioneer Station, and Post Falls.

In addition to the more than 200 post offices in Idaho, there are also fifteen full-service Contract Post Offices. To find the nearest postal location, call 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777) or go to usps.com and click on “Find USPS Locations.”

Idahoans are encouraged to go to myusps.com to sign up for real-time text and email notifications of the status of their packages. If a package doesn’t fit in the mailbox and the customer won’t be home to receive it, the customer can provide delivery instructions on-line and authorize the carrier to leave it in a specified location, with a neighbor, or choose to pick it up at the Post Office.

Thursday, Dec. 22 is expected to be the busiest delivery day of the year for packages -- with more than 30 million packages being delivered.

Officials say holiday cards and packages destined for military addresses in Iraq/Afghanistan/Middle East should have been mailed by Dec. 2.

Priority Mail Express Military Service is available to all other military addresses and should be mailed no later than Dec. 16. To help the families and friends of U.S. military personnel, the USPS offers a $2 discount on its largest Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes.

It’s not too late to reach international destinations when using either Priority Mail Express International or Global Express Guaranteed Service.

Suggested mail-by dates for cards and packages destined for U.S. addresses are: Dec. 15 for Retail Ground, Dec. 20 for First-Class Mail, Dec. 21 for Priority Mail, and Dec. 23 for Priority Mail Express.

Mailing tips, mail-by dates and more can be found online at usps.com/holiday.