Category Archives: Cards and Packages

The Tradition of Christmas Cards

Do you send Christmas cards to your friends and loved ones?

The tradition of sending Christmas cards in America goes back to about 1875, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac. That is when the first cards were published. Today, Americans mail about 1.5 billion Christmas cards, not counting the cards they deliver in person.

The first President to send an official Christmas card from the White House was President Dwight Eisenhower. If you send a card to the President, you might get one in return!

How and When to Send Your Christmas Cards

The post office is recommending that you physically bring your Christmas cards to the post office to be mailed this year, either to the retail desk or the wall drop-in slot inside the post office. Apparently, there has been a rash of thefts from the few remaining blue mailboxes on streets. Setting your cards outside of your home mailbox for the postal carrier to pick up is probably also not a good idea — I had a greeting card stolen that way.

For your friends and loved ones in the U.S., send cards between the beginning of December and December 9 (Christmas card day). For special recipients, and recipients abroad, send them soon after Thanksgiving.

Who Should Get a Card?

I think it’s really important to remember anyone in your family who may be socially isolated, first and foremost. This includes elderly people at home, people in nursing homes or hospitals, and people with disabilities. These groups tend to have reduced opportunities for socializing and a card is a thoughtful way to show you care.

In addition, you might want to send cards to close family members, friends, neighbors, your minister, your doctor, neighbors, employees, helpers, etc.

Cards teach children the value of appreciation. If you have children who are in preschool or school, it is appropriate to send cards in for the teacher, but do not forget the bus driver, aides and specials teachers. Have your child sign — or even make — the card.

Guidelines for Sending Cards to Special People

  • Unless otherwise instructed, put your full return address on the envelope.
  • Do not insert anything in your card, such as confetti or a photo.
  • No glitter! Most all organizations ask that the card you send does not have glitter on it, or is not otherwise 3-D. Embossing is okay.
  • Select a nice, conventional-sized, flat card.
  • If you include a message, be sure it is a positive one. Refrain from political statements. A Christmas card is not a vehicle for complaints!

US Troops. Please see my previous post on how to send Christmas cards to US Troops.

The Pope. Use two stamps for a card that weighs 1 oz or less and address it this way, with the lines just so:

His Holiness, Pope Francis
Apostolic Palace
00120 Vatican City

The President of the United States. To send a Christmas Card to President Biden and First Lady Biden, be sure to put your name and return address on the envelope and address it to: The White House, Office of the President, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC, 20500. If you are lucky, you might receive a Christmas card in return!

The Vice President of the United States. To send a Christmas Card to Vice-President Harris, be sure to put your name and return address on the envelope and address it to: The White House, Office of the Vice President, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC, 20500.

The Governor of Virginia. To send a Christmas card to the Governor of Virginia, address your card to Governor Glenn Youngkin, P.O. Box 1475, Richmond, VA 23218.


How to Send Your Child Greetings from the North Pole

  • Christmas Song of the Day: Here Comes Santa Claus

How magical would it be if your child received an answer to his or her letter to Santa Claus? Can you imagine that there is a team of good hearted folks in Anchorage who take care of that for you? At least, you are going to write the letter. They are going to postmark it for you, if you can sneak it into the mail on time. Here are instructions from USPS to get a return letter postmarked from “The North Pole.”

Photo by omid mostafavi on

How to get a letter postmarked from the North Pole:

  1. Have the child write a letter to Santa and place it in an envelope addressed to: Santa Claus, North Pole.
  2. Write a personalized response to the child’s letter and sign it “From Santa.”
  3. Insert both letters into an envelope, and address it to the child.
  4. Add the return address: SANTA, NORTH POLE, to the envelope.
  5. Ensure a First-Class Mail stamp is affixed to the envelope.
  6. Place the complete envelope into a larger envelope, with appropriate postage, and address it to:NORTH POLE POSTMARK
    4141 POSTMARK DR
    ANCHORAGE AK 99530-9998

USPS recommends sending your letters by December 10.

And while we are on the topic of Santa Claus, here is the Christmas song of the day, Here Comes Santa Claus.

Happy Christmas Card Day!

Photo by omid mostafavi on

Let’s reinvigorate the tradition of sending beautiful Christmas cards and heartfelt greetings to our closest friends and relatives.

You can find Hallmark cards ($1 and 2/$1) at Dollar Tree and of course, at Hallmark and other stores. Or make your own this year!

Did you know you can send a card to the President and First Lady? Address your card to:

The White House
Office of the President
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500

To send a card to Vice President Kamala Harris, address it like this (refer to her as Vice President Harris):

The White House
Office of the Vice President
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500

And here is the address to send a card to the Governor of Virginia…

Governor Ralph Northam
P.O. Box 1475
Richmond, VA 23218

While you are at it, it would be a nice gesture to send a card to Dr. Anthony Fauci. His birthday is on Christmas Eve! You can mail your card to:

Dr. Anthony Fauci c/o
NIAID Office of Communications and Government Relations
5601 Fishers Lane, MSC 9806
Bethesda, MD 20892-9806

Two new USPS stamps released for holiday mail

Two new first class, “Forever” USPS stamps have been released for the 2021 holiday.

Otters in Snow was released on October 12, 2021. The watercolor art features 4 depictions of playful otters. The artist is John Burgoyne. They would be appropriate anytime.

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Christmas cards and new USPS postage stamps

Happy Christmas Card Day! Yes, that is a real thing

Do you send Christmas cards? I hope you will consider it this year. Also consider buying USPS holiday stamps. They are lovely and all are Forever stamps, so whatever you don’t use can be used again next year. They cost 55 cents each. I particularly like the Winter Scenes stamps (below) but there is also a new religious-themed Christmas stamp, Our Lady of Guapulo and a beautifully designed Kwanzaa stamp, as well as many favorite designs from previous years.

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USPS Operation Santa opens today online

While the Postal Service began receiving letters addressed to Santa more than 108 years ago, it wasn’t until 1912 that Postmaster General Frank Hitchcock authorized local Postmasters to allow postal employees and citizens to respond to them. This became known as Operation Santa. The program has helped millions of less fortunate children and their families with Christmas gifts and is for every person of every belief, or non-belief.

The USPS Operation Santa program celebrates its 108th year in 2020 by opening up for nationwide participation. Now, more than ever, the program is needed to help less fortunate kids and families during the holidays.

This is how it works: Santa’s Elves open 100s of thousands of letters. For safety reasons, all personally identifiable information of the letter writer is removed (i.e. last names, addresses, ZIP Codes). The letters are then uploaded to where they may be read and chosen for adoption by donating individuals and companies. The letters will be available this year beginning on December

Do you have a wish for Santa to know this year? To participate in the USPS Operation Santa program as a possible recipient of holiday gifts, all you have to do is write a letter, put it in a stamped envelope with a return address, and send it to Santa’s official workshop address as seen on the example envelope below. Letters will be accepted Nov. 16 – Dec. 15, 2020.

What should be included in the letter? The Postal Service is here to help with guides and tips to help kids write and send their best letters ever. All the information you could possibly need to write a letter, address an envelope, put on a stamp and send it on its way can be found on and in our Holiday Newsroom.

USPS advises you to send your cards and packages EARLY this holiday eason

Photo by Olya Kobruseva on

Do you mail presents to loved ones? Well, here is some information you need to know this December to make sure your cards and presents arrive in time.

Expect High Volume Mailing this year
It is expected that MORE holiday gifts and cards will be sent through the mail this year, because of the pandemic. People won’t be getting together to open presents as they might have done in previous years. So, the Postal Service is expecting significant volume increases.

Good news, though! Sunday delivery has been expanded to locations with high package volumes. Mail carriers will also deliver packages for an additional fee on Christmas Day in select locations.

Staying Safe in the Pandemic
Think about your personal risks when planning your shipping. You can avoid in-person contact by using USPS online. If you prefer, you can also take many packages to self-serve shipping areas in many post offices, even when the post office is closed (many lobbies are open and the machines are accessible) — another way to avoid crowds of people. If you must go to the post office, however, try to do it early, before December 7 or as soon as you can manage it. Wear a mask and maintain 6 feet and be kind to the postal workers — they really are working hard and they deserve our support.

Busiest Mailing and Delivery Days
Mail volume peaks two weeks before Christmas, when much of the last-minute shopping starts. Customer traffic is expected to increase beginning December 7, with the week of December 14 – 21 predicted to be the busiest mailing, shipping and delivery week.

Shipping Online Makes More Sense This Year Than Ever
You can skip the post office line by shipping your packages online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Visit or use the Click-N-Ship. You can also order free Priority Mail boxes, printing shipping labels, purchasing postage and request free next-day Package Pickup. And you don’t have to put on a mask to do it!

2020 Holiday Shipping Deadlines
Remember, if you are sending your mail or packages to anyone in the military, you need to act early.

For Priority Mail Express shipments mailed Dec. 22 through Dec. 25, the money-back guarantee applies only if the shipment was not delivered, or delivery was not attempted, within two business days.

The Postal Service recommends the following mailing and shipping deadlines for expected (but not guaranteed) delivery by Christmas Day, Dec. 25:

  • Dec. 9   — APO/FPO/DPO (ZIP Code 093 only) Priority Mail and First-Class Mail
  • Dec. 11 — APO/FPO/DPO (all other ZIP Codes) Priority Mail and First-Class Mail services
  • Dec. 15 — USPS Retail Ground service
  • Dec. 18 — APO/FPO/DPO (except ZIP Code 093) USPS Priority Mail Express service
  • Dec. 18 — First-Class Mail service (including greeting cards)
  • Dec. 18 — First-class packages (up to 15.99 ounces)
  • Dec. 19 — Priority Mail service
  • Dec. 23 — Priority Mail Express* service


  • Dec. 18 — Alaska to/from Continental U.S. First-Class Mail
  • Dec. 19 — Alaska to/from Continental U.S. Priority Mail
  • Dec. 21 — Alaska to/from Continental U.S. Priority Mail Express


  • Dec. 15 — Hawaii to/from mainland Priority Mail and First-Class Mail
  • Dec. 21 — Hawaii to/from mainland Priority Mail Express

More tips for a successful holiday mailing and shipping season:

  • Use free Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes. They are available at Post Office locations or online at
  • Make it easy with Click-N-Ship. You can create shipping labels and pay for postage online at
  • Schedule a free Package Pickup when the carrier delivers your mail. It’s free regardless of the number of packages. Pickups can be scheduled at
  • Mail and packages that weigh more than 10 ounces or are more than a half-inch thick and using stamps as postage cannot be dropped into a collection box or left for a carrier to pick up. Instead, take them to a local Post Office.

Additional news and information, including all domestic, international and military mailing and shipping deadlines, can be found on the Postal Service Holiday Newsroom at


When to Mail Holiday Cards and Packages

09109_467_11_10_2009When do you mail holiday cards and packages? Do you like to do it early, or do you wait until the last minute?

Mail-By Dates

To ensure that holiday mail and packages are delivered on time, the U.S. Postal Service recommends keeping the following mailing and shipping deadlines in mind:

Nov. 12 APO/FPO Military Standard Post
Dec. 2 Priority Mail International
Dec. 10 APO/FPO Military Priority Mail and First-Class Mail
Dec. 10 Priority Mail Express International
Dec. 14 Standard Post
Dec. 16 Global Express Guaranteed
Dec. 17 Priority Mail Express Military Service
Dec. 20 First-Class Mail
Dec. 21 Priority Mail
Dec. 23 Priority Mail Express

The dates listed above are the earliest deadlines for international and military mail. For a complete list of shipping deadlines, visit

Your Online Post Office

Many post offices will be open until noon on Christmas Eve. Don’t like waiting in line? You can go online! Nearly 75 million customers will skip the trip to the Post Office altogether and take advantage of online shipping. Click-N-Ship and other online services allow customers to print shipping labels, order free Priority Mail boxes, purchase postage and even request free next-day package pickup. You can even buy stamps and gifts. For more information, please visit

Rules about Holiday Gifts for Letter Carriers and Mail Clerks

Postal employees may accept gifts valued up to $20, including gift cards, but not cash, liquor, or wine. The gift card must be from a single company but may not be from a bank or shopping mall.