Postal products, services and solutions that simplify your season

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The holidays are joyful, exciting, and heart-warming. They are also crazy, chaotic, and stressful. We know! We’ve been helping holidays happen for a long time and we’ve learned some things along the way:

  • We’ve learned that even when we decorate for the holidays, not everyone wants to come into a Post Office during our busiest season of the year.
  • We’ve learned that people really like being able to conduct their postal business from the comfort of their living room sofa.
  • We’ve learned that going online, clicking a few buttons, and then having things delivered to your mailbox or door is about as convenient as it gets.
  • We’ve learned that going online to get postage and arranging for your gifts to be picked up eliminates most of the rushing around associated with the holidays.
  • We’ve learned that knowing what’s coming in the mail is helpful to just about everyone.

We’ve used this knowledge to create services and solutions to simplify your lives, especially during the hectic holiday season. Here are some services that allow you to remain in your jammies, sip on eggnog, and still get things done.

A selection of Priority Mail boxes from the Postal Store (
  • Order free boxes. Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express flat rate boxes are available at local Post Office locations and online at
A selection of this year’s holiday postage stamps.
  • Order postage stamps. All holiday stamps are available online at
  • Print labels with postage. With Click-N-Ship, you can create shipping labels and pay for postage online. Go to We are projecting nearly 500,000 customers will use Click-N-Ship on Dec. 14 to ship packages.
  • Get packages picked up. When the carrier delivers your mail, your outgoing packages can be picked up for FREE. Package Pickup is free regardless of the number of packages you’re sending. Pickups can be scheduled at
A screen shot of the Informed Delivery screen on a mobile phone.
  • Know what’s getting delivered. With our Informed Delivery feature, you can receive text messages or email alerts when a package is coming, notifications when the package has been delivered and daily emails showing what mail will be delivered. Sign up for free services at More than 42 million people have already signed up for the Informed Delivery feature.
  • Need a last-minute gift? At the Postal Store on, you can find more than boxes and stamps. There are greeting cards and note cards — some come with stamps! There are stamp keepsakes. There are post office tents for the little ones to play make-believe and vehicles for them to drive. There are tote bags, ornaments, framed art, toy cars, beach towels, clothes and so much more.
Featured USPS retail items for the holidays.
  • 24/7 Post Office. is always open! We are predicting that more than 100 million people will visit between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.

Shipping a gift to a deployed family member or friend this holiday?

The Postal Service is expecting more than 12.6 million pounds of mail for APO/FPO/DPO destinations this holiday season.

To send packages to loved ones serving abroad, the Postal Service offers a discount on its Priority Mail Large Flat Rate Box. The $21.15 price includes a $1.50 per box discount for mail sent to APO/FPO/DPO destinations worldwide. Postage, labels, and customs forms can be printed online anytime using Click-N-Ship at

Featured USPS retail items for the holidays.

The Postal Service has the products and solutions to help you have a less-stressed holiday season.

From our families to yours, we wish you a very happy holiday.

Private Post Offices Saving With “Usable” Postage

Private Post Offices Save With Usable Postage

Post offices around the country are increasing their profit margins by using “usable” postage. They aren’t suitable for resale because customers buying books and rolls want the postage to be in perfect brand-new condition. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t “usable” for postage!

We often get partial books and rolls of stamps. Or books or sheets that may be folded or slightly scuffed or bent. Even the slightest corner bend or fold is kicked out of our “New Condition” inventory and moved to “Usable Condition”, which we sell for less.

And since we sell usable postage for less than our new “resale condition” books and rolls, you can save even more by using them whenever you can.

Using Usable Postage Behind-The-Counter

Do you have customers who drop off letters or packages, pay for postage, and then you place their postage on their items behind the counter?

Instead of using brand new postage, you can use usable postage. We call this behind-the-counter usage. The customer isn’t buying a full book or roll of stamps, so you can use partial books or rolls that you paid less for – and in turn make more of a profit!

Using Personal Postage For Personal Use

If you’re using postage for personal or business use, and don’t care about having complete books and rolls, or the condition of the stamps as long as they’re good enough to go through the mail, consider using usable postage for deeper discounts on your shipping costs.

*We make sure that all of our usable postage is in condition good enough to be accepted through the USPS mail. If you have any issues sending mail with any of our usable postage, you can send them back to us for a full refund.

It’s Santa time. Here’s how it works.

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Letters are arriving at Santa’s workshop from all over the country. Postal elves are busy reading and prepping them so they can be posted on

We are so excited — USPS Operation Santa is now open for registration and identity verification!

An illustration of a man looking at his phone with various identity requirement images in clouds over his head.

Why do I need to get my identity verified?

The Postal Service takes the privacy and security of the children and families who write to USPS Operation Santa very seriously. Our verification process reflects this. We know many customers were unable to participate last year because they couldn’t get verified. To help address this problem, we started working earlier this year on an in-person verification solution. We are thrilled to offer this option to potential adopters who want to participate and have trouble getting their identities verified online.

There are now three ID verification options available:

  1. Customers enter their name, address, mobile phone number, and email address. If they cannot be verified, they move to the second option.
  2. Customers will be required to answer some basic multiple-choice questions. If they still cannot be verified, they will move to the third option.
  3. Customers will be instructed to go to a nearby Post Office location to have their identities validated in person. They will be provided a code in an email and will be instructed to bring an acceptable form of identification. They will also be given directions to the nearest participating Post Office location.

You are registered and verified. Now what?

On November 29, USPS Operation Santa opens for adoption. You can start reviewing letters and choose one to adopt. We have made several modifications to the website this year to improve the user experience.

Last year, letters were adopted very quickly! While adopters were reading letters, they disappeared without warning. Someone had just adopted the letter because they could review it at the same time. We know how frustrating that was. This year, when you choose a letter, it’s locked with you for up to five minutes. You will be told you have five minutes to adopt the letter or it will be put back in the system. There’s even a 2-minute warning to remind you.

We are also messaging users to refresh the site when reading letters. This helps ensure all available letters are displayed.

Advanced Notice!

One of the best improvements to the website is a countdown timer that informs potential adopters exactly when the next set of letters will be posted. No more guessing and having to check the website all day long. The timer will tell you exactly when new letters will be posted!

Letter to Santa with child’s drawing of Santa and a Christmas tree with gifts underneath.

Choosing the Perfect Letter

You want to choose a letter that touches your heart immediately but what if the only letter available is from a child wishing BIG!? Of course, you don’t need to fulfill their expensive requests. You can either adopt a letter that better suits your budget, or you can find an alternative way to make their holiday special. Whether they receive exactly what they asked for or not, just hearing back from Santa is a win for any child!

Ready to shop? Ready to ship?

You’ve picked the letter you want, what’s next? Go shopping! If you adopted a letter from a family or child who lives in a nearby state, your postage costs will be less than if you adopted a letter from across the country. The price of postage depends on various factors such as the shipping distance, the weight, and the length and girth of the package. Using Priority Flat Rate boxes is a good option to control shipping costs. Read our Shipping Guidelines for more information.

Picture of an open Priority box and hands putting gifts inside it.

Here’s a good tip to help keep your shipping costs down. Get a large Priority Mail Flat Rate box from your local Post Office and take it with you when you go shopping. Only purchase things that can fit in the box. Keep in mind, you can send up to six boxes to each letter writer. Consider a gift card in place of sending larger, heavier items. If you want to send just a gift card, it will need to be sent in a Priority Mail envelope, 4×6 or larger to accommodate the shipping label.

When you adopt a letter you will receive an email with instructions. The email will also have a QR code and an adoption packet. You will need to take the QR code and your adoption packet with you when you ship your gift to the Post Office.

Once your gift is shipped, you won’t receive any tracking information. The package is being sent anonymously and the letter writer’s address is private. However, you will receive notifications in your profile that your package has shipped and is in transit.

We have updated the list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to make the experience easier for everyone involved. These FAQs can be found on the website, or right here on

Our goal is to have every letter sent to Santa’s workshop posted, adopted, and fulfilled. We hope everyone has a wonderful holiday this season.

Delivering mail from beginning to end


Ever wonder what happens to your mail and packages after you put them in the mailbox or drop them off at a Post Office?

Whether across town, or across the country, the route your mail travels is more involved than just “over the river, and through the woods.”

The United States Postal Service has nearly 34,000 Post Office locations and more than 300 processing and distribution facilities across the country. The extensive USPS network processes nearly 182 million pieces of First-Class Mail every day.

Once you place your packages, letters, or greeting cards in the mail — through your mailbox at home, a blue collection box, or a local Post Office — Postal Service employees will gather everything up and begin moving it through our network.

A visual infographic or the mail delivery process, as described in the text below.

After collection, the mail and packages are moved to processing facilities. At the processing facilities, the mail is separated into three categories — letters, flats, and packages. Once separated, machines are used to sort the mail by ZIP Code. Machines convert images of mailpieces into data by using cameras that take pictures to gather the destination address, tracking barcode (applied at the facility), and postage. This data is used to sort the mail, create tracking information and validate the postage amount.

Because packages come in a variety of shapes and sizes, they are processed on different equipment. Once separated from other mail, packages go through the Automated Package Processing System. This system moves packages along a series of conveyor belts and rollers. Cameras read the destination addresses, scan the barcodes to update tracking information, check for proper postage, and determine the size and weight of the packages. After scanning, the packages continue their journey along a conveyor and are automatically sorted into bins based on their final destinations.

After the mail and packages are sorted, they are moved to the loading dock and shipped through networks of processing and distribution facilities using our extensive fleet of vehicles, depending on the destination. The mail is ultimately sent to the local Post Office for delivery, based on the community’s ZIP Code.

Employees at the receiving Post Office then collect the mail and separate and sort it by carrier or Post Office boxes. Mail destined for PO Boxes is placed into the respective box. The carriers gather the remaining mail, take it to their delivery vehicles, and head out on the street to deliver.

In order to better handle the expected increase in volume during the season, the Postal Service is also making key network infrastructure investments ahead of the holidays to meet the evolving mailing and shipping needs of all our customers. This includes, but is not limited to, installing 112 new package sorters and more than 50 additional systems to help sort larger packages, and adding space to accommodate packages by leasing more than 75 peak season annex facilities — plus more than 40 annexes on multi-year leases.

This is just one part of our 10-year plan to achieve financial sustainability and service excellence.

So you see, it takes a lot of steps to get that special gift or card to friends and family for the holidays. Now you can impress people with your new knowledge at your holiday gatherings — be they in person or online!

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