PORTLAND -- Monday was expected to be the busiest shipping day of the year for the U.S. Postal Service, with some 660 million pieces of mail being processed.
Postal officials said overall mail volume was up 12 percent from last year.
The postal service recommends shipping items by this Friday at regular rates to ensure Christmas delivery. Items can be shipped at higher rates of Priority Mail and Express Mail by Dec. 23rd for Christmas arrival.
To avoid the crowds, use the shipping kiosk at post offices. Prepaid labeling and ordering of boxes and envelopes can be done from home online at usps.com.
It's recommended that store gift cards be shipped in padded envelopes. Make certain that address labels are legible. They must be mailed by Friday to make it by Christmas.
The United Postal Service reported that Tuesday was turning out to be their busiest delivery day, ever. Officials believe online shopping was the biggest reason for this boost.
UPS saw a 5.5 % increase from 2012 to 2013 for pre-Christmas business and a record 29 million packages will be delivered worldwide by UPS workers on Tuesday.
Package thefts also see a rise this time of year. UPS driver Dan Crandall said there are some simple steps people can take to prevent thefts.
“Turn your porch light on, have a pot on your porch or something, or a sign that you have a dog, that kind of thing - because we will take it around back,” he said.
The UPS website also has a page that customers can fill out to designate a special hidden location where they want deliveries dropped.
If you still have a few people on your list that you haven't purchased gifts for yet, this Wednesday is Free Shipping Day. Nearly 800 businesses are taking part across the nation. They are all listed on the Free Shipping Day website.