LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Mail carriers have long be lauded through the unofficial USPS motto“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

Add to that creed: historic mail volume. Representatives with the U.S. Postal Service say they’re ready to handle the massive rush of packages they expect to see during the holiday season.

What You Need To Know

  • U.S. Postal Service representatives say they’re prepared for the holiday rush this year

  • Mail traffic increased 48% last holiday season, mostly due to people shopping online more during the pandemic

  • The deadline to send mail through First-Class Mail and have it arrive by Christmas is Dec. 17

Although the post office is signaling confidence in shipping capabilities, local spokeswoman Susan Wright said people shouldn’t procrastinate with their Christmas gifts.

USPS has hired around 500 workers so far to prepare for the holiday rush this year. (Spectrum News 1/Joe Ragusa)

“What we want to emphasize for customers is to please mail as early as possible,” she said.

The deadline to ensure packages sent through First-Class Mail will get to their destination by Christmas is Dec. 17, while the Priority Mail deadline is Dec. 18, and the Priority Mail Express deadline is Dec. 23.

Wright said the postal service is investing $40 billion over the next decade to improve service, including more staff, new equipment, and more space. 

“E-commerce is here to stay and customers have grown accustomed to buying their items online,” she said. “And we’re well-positioned at the postal service to deliver those items to our customers.”

Last holiday season was the busiest season ever for the U.S. Postal Service, which delivered more than 1.1 billion packages during the holidays, according to a press release. The number of packages sent grew by 48% compared to the year before, most of which was driven by customers shopping online more during the pandemic.

Rick Rosenbury, operations support specialist for the Louisville branch of the U.S Postal Service, said the agency is even more prepared this year.

“We’re better staffed. Our maintenance team is doing an excellent job having the machine’s preventative maintenance to make sure that they continue running properly, the way that they’re doing,” he said. “A lot more teamwork involved this year and now that COVID has died down a little bit, I think it’s a little less stressful for the employees.”

Kentucky post offices have hired nearly 500 people for the holiday season this year, according to Wright.