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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 12/20/2010

Postal Service expecting its busiest day of the year

By Ed O'Keefe

(Photo by Jacqueline Larma/AP)

Eye Opener

Headed to the post office today to mail holiday packages? You should expect a long line.

The U.S. Postal Service anticipates Monday will be its busiest day of the year, with a holiday influx of about 800 million letters and packages, a 40 percent increase over the average daily mail volume of 559 pieces.

"If customers get their cards and packages to us by Tuesday, Dec. 21, we'll get them delivered by Christmas," Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe said ahead of Monday's big day.

USPS recommends getting your cards and letters into the mail today to ensure delivery in time for Christmas. Tuesday is the recommended deadline for sending packages with Priority Mail. Wednesday, Dec. 22, is the recommended final day for customers using Express Mail.

Customers too busy to get to the post office or wait in line may request free package pickup by visiting and a letter carrier will pick up packages during regular mail deliveries the next day.

The 2010 holiday season follows the Postal Service's worst fiscal year ever -- with about $8.5 billion in losses. Much of its debts are tied to billions of dollars in payments to retiree pensions, but also the continued migration of commerce to the Internet. Despite the losses, members of the postal community remain hopeful.

"What the Postal Service has to do is adapt to the change as a result of the Internet," National Association of Letter Carriers President Fredric V. Rolando said Sunday. "They've adapted to so many changes over the years. What you have here, if you take the mail out of the equation, you've got this incredible universal network for the American people, probably the only universal network that goes to every home and every business six days a week."

Rolando, speaking Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union," noted that the Postal Service's chief holiday competitors, FedEx and UPS, are also its strongest business partners.

"Probably the fastest growing division in both of those companies is the Postal Service delivering the last mile for them, taking their parcels door to door because it makes more sense for us to do it because we go to every house," Rolando said. "They may go to every 50th house, every 100th house."

How are you sending your holiday letters and packages? How was your most recent visit to the local post office? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

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Napolitano confirms gang killed border agent in battle: The homeland security secretary says an elite Border Patrol squad was pursuing a gang that preyed on drug smugglers when agent Brian Terry was shot and killed.

Gay troops cautiously optimistic following 'don't ask' repeal: Across the world, gay troops whose lives, careers and relationships have been indelibly, if sometimes quietly, shaped by the ban reacted to the news with a mixture of rapture and disbelief.

Chu to freeze salaries for Energy Dept. contract employees: Friday's announcement follows a two-year pay freeze that President Obama has asked Congress to impose on federal employees.

Are air traffic controllers exempt from pay freeze?: Obama may exempt air-traffic controllers, among the highest-paid workers in U.S. government, from his proposed federal pay freeze because their wages are covered by a collective-bargaining agreement.

Senate passes food safety bill and sends to House after fixing constitutional snafu: The chamber passed the bill for the first time three weeks ago, but it was caught in a constitutional snag when senators mistakenly included tax provisions that are by law supposed to originate in the House.

Canada and U.S. near pact: They are in the final stages of hammering out a broad pact on border security that could be unveiled within the next several weeks, say people familiar with the situation.

State, USAID outline hiring, training, promotion plans: They want more training, advancement and recruitment opportunities to bolster its cadre of employees with specialized skills and improve America's diplomatic power.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | December 20, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener, Postal Service  
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I believe the Postal Service does an amazing job. Without their reliable help, it would be impossible to run an internet based business like mine.

Posted by: Pocket4s | December 20, 2010 8:24 AM | Report abuse

I paid my congressman thousands to keep our post office off the closing list.

Posted by: blasmaic | December 20, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

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