Thursday, August 28, 2014 · 7:15 a.m.

Holiday season brings USPS business

USPS helps connect children with Santa

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Leaders with the United States Postal Service expect a record number of deliveries after Cyber Monday. (Photo: Contributed)

After ending the fiscal year with a record net loss of $15.9 billion, the United States Postal Service will deliver a record number of purchases that 130 million Americans are expected to make today on Cyber Monday. 

The holiday season is the busiest for the USPS, both from revenue and volume standpoints, USPS spokesman David Walton said. 

 “The holiday season is our Super Bowl, with 365 million packages expected to be delivered by the Postal Service this year,” Gary Reblin, vice president of domestic products, said in a prepared statement. “Whether it’s Cyber Monday or any day, USPS will continue to take a leadership role as a catalyst of e-commerce trade between consumers and online merchants.”

USPS leaders said that the National Retail Federation predicted that holiday sales will grow by 12 percent to nearly $100 billion. 

Consumers will do more than a third of their shopping online, USPS leaders also said. 

Walton said the busiest days will be Dec. 17 and Dec. 10, when leaders see nearly triple the normal volume. 

Reblin also said that USPS leaders aim for 100 percent visibility of all mail and packages, and consumers can track what they send. 

For more information 

USPS leaders advise users to mail packages early.

For more information on mailing and shipping services this holiday season, click here

“USPS is committed to providing customers with timely, reliable and accurate delivery service at reasonable prices so they can enjoy this special time of the year,” Reblin said.

Leaders with the United States Postal Service said recently that they urgently need legislative action so that they can implement reform and return to financial stability. 

This year's $15.9 billion loss included $11.1 billion connected to two payments to prefund retiree health benefits, officials said. 

The USPS is required by law to prefund those benefits, but it had to default on those payments. 

Senate members passed a postal bill in April that would help the situation, in part by reducing annual health payments and refunding $11 billion that the USPS made to the federal pension fund, according to The Christian Science Monitor.

But House leaders haven't moved their version through yet, according to Nooga.com archives. 

Letters From Santa 

USPS leaders will help parents keep the mystery of Santa alive through their Letters From Santa Program.

The program allows a child to receive a letter "from Santa," postmarked from the North Pole. 

In almost all areas of the country, Santa letters solicit a return letter from Santa’s helpers—AKA postal employees, Walton said.

“We don’t have a figure on exactly how many of the approximately 17.9 billion pieces of mail we will handle between Thanksgiving and Christmas will be addressed to Santa,” Walton said. “But all the correspondence sent between family, friends and Santa adds up to much needed postal revenue.”

The Letters From Santa Program is different from the historical Operation Santa Program.

The Letters From Santa program is when a letter is sent on behalf of Santa from postal employees. This year, 76 offices are responding to letters, and 25 are allowing the public to view the letters, Darleen Reid, with USPS corporate communications, said via email. 

Operation Santa matches customers with letters written to Santa from needy children so that members of the public can read and adopt letters. And the process involves mailing a gift to a child. 

Although the Operation Santa Program does increase revenue slightly, it's mainly for charitable purposes, Reid said. 

"The public or employees who answer the letters are volunteers and in no way are required to include gifts or send a response via a mailed package," she said. "It’s primarily a letter-writing endeavor, where our employees respond to children writing Santa with an approved Santa message on his behalf."

FY 2012 revenue volume

Quarter 1: $17.7 billions (43.7 billion pieces) 

Quarter 2: $16.2 billion (39.8 billion pieces)

Quarter 3: $15.6 billion (38.7 billion pieces)

Quarter 4: $15.7 billion (37.7 billion pieces)

 This is how it works:

—Write a letter to your child from Santa Claus, and sign it “From Santa.”

—Insert the letter into an envelope addressed to your child with the return address SANTA, NORTH POLE.

—Ensure a first-class mail stamp is on the envelope.

—Put the envelope into a larger envelope, with appropriate postage, and address the larger envelope to:

North Pole Postmark
Postmaster
4141 Postmark Drive
Anchorage, AK 99530-9998

—Your letter “from Santa” will be mailed back to your child, postmarked from the North Pole.

Letters From Santa must be mailed no later than Dec. 10, 2012. 

Updated @ 12:19 p.m. on 11/26/12 to add more information as it became available.
Updated @ 2:06 p.m. on 11/26/12 to add more information as it became available.

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