* The biggest and busiest mailing day of the year at post offices will be Dec. 17.
* Mail as early as possible to avoid busier times at post offices later on.
* Bring holiday packages and mail to the post office early in the day, you avoid the crowd and your holiday mail usually gets sent on its way sooner. The best days are usually Tuesdays and Thursdays. The busiest days are Mondays and Saturdays.
* Mail to international and military destinations by Dec. 10. Mail packages and cards going out of state by Dec. 18. Mail packages and cards going in-state by Dec. 20.
* After Dec. 20, the Postal Service recommends customers use Express Mail to mail packages out of state to ensure their arrival by Christmas.
* Print the complete address on all envelopes and packages, including the return address in left upper corner. Also put the return address on a piece of paper inside packages.
* Use the correct Zip Code. To obtain it call 1-800-ASK-USPS or access USPS web at www.usps.com The postal web also has information on rates, mailing services, stamps, merchandise and various kinds of holiday mail information.
* For parcels, use a sturdy box with no writing on the outside. Ensure contents are tightly packed, secure and cushioned with newspaper or padding. Seal with reinforced packing tape. Do not use string or wrapping paper on the outside. If you are mailing homemade food like cookies or fruit cake, make sure they are sealed in a container inside.