Letters from Santa and holiday mail

The US Postal Service sees a sharp rise in business during the holidays. Here are a couple of short articles to help with your Christmas plans.

How to get a letter from Santa
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus – and the U.S. Postal Service can help you prove it when Santa replies to your child’s letter – complete with a North Pole postmark.

Here are the steps for your child to get a letter back from Santa:

* Have your child write a letter to Santa and place it in an envelope addressed to: Santa Claus, North Pole.

* Later, when alone, open the envelope and write a personalized response.

* Insert the response letter into an envelope and address it to the child.

* Add the return address: SANTA, NORTH POLE, to the envelope.

* Affix a first-class mail stamp, such as a new Christmas Carols Forever stamp to the envelope.

* Place the complete envelope into a larger envelope – preferably a Priority Mail Flat Rate envelope – with appropriate postage and address it to:

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

“Letters from Santa” must be received by the Anchorage, Alaska, postmaster no later than December 15. Santa’s helpers at the Postal Service will take care of the rest.

Delivering holiday mail
The U.S. Postal Service will deliver more than 15 billion pieces of mail this holiday season. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, the Postal Service also expects to deliver 850 million packages, which is more than a 10 percent increase compared to the same period last year.

The Postal Service recommends the following mailing and shipping deadlines:

Dec. 11 – APO/FPO/DPO Priority Mail & First-Class Mail

Dec. 14 – USPS Retail Ground

Dec. 15 – Hawaii to Mainland Priority Mail & First-Class Mail

Dec. 16 – APO/FPO/DPO USPS Priority Mail Express and Domestic First-Class Packages (up to 15.99 ounces)

Dec. 19 – First-Class Mail (including greeting cards)

Dec. 20 – Priority Mail, Hawaii to Mainland Priority Mail Express, Alaska to Mainland Priority Mail & First-Class Mail

Dec. 21 – Alaska to Mainland Priority Mail Express

Dec. 22 – Priority Mail Express