Postal service cranks up delivery for Christmas

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If you're using the U.S. Postal Service to ship packages or send cards and you want them there by Christmas, your days are limited.

The USPS is busier than ever, projecting a 20-percent increase in shipping volume this season, according to postal spokesperson Mary Dando, who says at peak season, they process 5.1 million packages.

Dando said one of the most economical options for shipping packages is the Postal Service's "if it fits, it ships' boxes.  Anything you can fit into one of several different sized boxes ships for one price. This is particularly a great way to save if you're shipping something heavy.  You can ship by volume instead of weight.

The most important date to remember--December 22. That's your absolute last day to ship in time for Christmas. You'll have to send it Express Mail to guarantee the Christmas Eve delivery. If you don't want to pay the extra shipping, just back that day up to Thursday, December 20 to ship regular first class.

Another way you can save is by using the "click and ship" option online.

"We like to say, skip the trip to the post office. You go online to and print your mailing lables. If you're doing that, we'll give you up to 16 percent off your packaging," said Dando.