USPS prepared for busiest mailing day as online retailers hope for record-breaking sales

Americans mailing cards and packages coast to coast will hand over more than 658 million pieces of mail Monday to the United States Postal Service. The USPS has already seen a 20 percent surge in business compared to last year.

"We’re very happy about that, what we’re seeing. This is good for everybody. We’re seeing lot more packages in our mail stream," said Mary Dando, spokesperson for the Central Indiana District of the USPS.

Dando said the USPS will handle more than 15 billion cards and packages between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The deadline for Christmas Eve delivery through USPS Express Mail is December 22. The last day for regular parcel post was Friday, December 14.

"We're encouraging people to not only mail early, as in before the deadlines, but mail early in the day. The sooner your package or your letter goes into our mail stream, the sooner it'll get to your friends and family," said Dando.

"We’re trying to get everything done early this year because I don’t like waiting till the last minute. Quite honestly, I like to take time before the holiday to enjoy myself and not rush around, so I’m trying to send things early this year," said Megan Rhodehame, who mailed the last of her packages Friday.

Online retailers are offering self-proclaimed procrastinators one last chance at discounts and deals with Free Shipping Day. The fifth annual event brings together 1,600 retailers who guarantee a Christmas Eve delivery for free, if orders are placed by December 17.

"We’ve taken advantage of that, it’s a nice feature of it and of course there are some things we just can't get in the stores, so we used the internet 'cause it was convenient," said shopper Rusty Garner.

Retail experts predict this year's Free Shipping Day to be a bigger online sales day than Cyber Monday, but warn shoppers to look for restrictions like minimum price requirements. Some websites are sweetening the free shipping deal by offering discounts on the entire online order.

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