According to Sue Brennan of the U.S. Postal service, USPS estimates that it will deliver more than 750 million packages between Thanksgiving and Dec. 31 this year. FedEx projects a record-breaking 370 million; UPS predicts the service will deliver more than 700 million.
For a country of only about 325 million , that means mailrooms across the country and postal workers worldwide will handle more than five packages per American this holiday season.
In recent years, this influx has been credited for the rise of online shopping, but as history shows us this surge in mail is as much a holiday tradition as mistletoe and mulled wine.
Even during wartime, the U.S. Postal service — one of the few governmental agencies explicitly mentioned in the Constitution — made every effort to deliver holiday packages on time. During World War I, Army officers established a “Christmas box hospital” for the repair of Christmas boxes received in bad condition. And likewise, the Navy’s ships helped to ferry millions of packages from New York to Europe.
While technology has sped up the process, these packages still take time. Even in 2007, carriers still hand-sorted about 14 percent of letters and 40 percent of flat mail (larger pieces).
But that said, you still have a little time to send your last-minute gifts out. The U.S. Postal Service marks today as the deadline for priority mail with an expected delivery date of Dec. 25.