Adulting for the Holidays
The holidays are coming fast! We’ve been working hard and we’re ready. And once again we are “holiday-fying” this blog. For the next 14 weeks, this space will provide you with information that can help make this season happier and less stressful.
The Holiday Newsroom is also ready for the season. News releases, fact sheets, videos and other content will be posted regularly on this easy-to-access site.
The Postal Service delivers the holidays — whether it’s at the doorstep, the neighborhood Post Office or online at usps.com. This Is Our Season! We’re Delivering the Holidays! We’ve been helping holidays happen for more than 244 years — It’s What We Do!
And with that, we’d like to kick off the 2019 holiday season by offering a small course on “Adulting for the Holidays.”
According to Merriam-Webster: To ‘adult’ is to behave like an adult, specifically to do the things—often mundane—that an adult is expected to do. It’s also common as a gerund—that is, in the form adulting as a noun, as in “Adulting is hard” or “I’m not very good at adulting.”
We’ve seen all the stories. The articles about people who have never sent physical mail, who don’t know how or where to buy stamps, or where to put them on the envelope once they have them. And it pains us. So much!
Hey, it’s not your fault! Where do you learn how to write a nice letter, address an envelope correctly or where to place the postage stamp anymore? In this age of electronic communication, texting is second nature and using social apps happens at warp speed. We get it! But at some point in time the internet might go down and you still need to pay your bills. You need to know this stuff! We know nobody taught you these things. Again, it hurts!
We know the joy that comes from sending AND receiving handwritten letters and we just want everyone to experience that type of happiness! It’s wonderful! Someone took the time and effort to let you know they were thinking about you. They took a whole lot more than just the few seconds it takes you to send a text! You can do the same thing for your friends and loved ones. Consider it a DIY project. You can be as creative as you want to be! Homemade cards. Pretty paper. Scented envelopes. Personally selected stamps. It will be awesome! Because you owe your mother more than an emoji, and grandma deserves better than a mass text. A letter adds the personal touch — your unique handwriting — that can’t be found in texts or emails. It’s tangible. It can be held and saved and cherished. Real. Mail. Rocks!
So, with the busiest season of year upon us, we thought it might be a good time to put some basic information out there. We are stepping up with an adulting course of our own: Postal 101.
How to Write a Personal Card or Letter
- Begin with a simple salutation: Dear Dad, Hello Uncle Joe, or Hi.
- Detail the message you wish to relay. Your style — your expressions — formal or personal. The message you write is uniquely you, and you can’t go wrong with that.
- Include that you hope they are fine and you miss them, if appropriate.
- End with another salutation: Sincerely, Yours truly, Love. Or go off the grid with something more personal like: Your favorite sister, XOXO, Your #1 son, or Hugs from the one who loves to kiss your face, (again, if appropriate).
- Sign your name — like, with a pen, in cursive (hopefully, you know what that is)..
How to Address an Envelope
- Use a pen.
- Print your name and address in the upper left-hand corner — the return address.
- Write the name and address of the recipient in the middle right area.
- Place the stamp in upper right-hand corner.
- Insert card or folded letter.
- Seal the envelope.
Where to Purchase Stamps
- Postage stamps can be purchased online at usps.com/store.
- They can be purchased at local Post Offices.
- They can also be purchased at many retail locations you probably go to all the time: grocery stores, big warehouse stores, grocery stores or drug stores.
How to Mail a Card or Letter
If you have a residential mailbox with a red flag on it, you can put the card or letter inside and raise the flag. This notifies the mail carrier there is outgoing mail in the box that needs to be picked up before incoming mail is delivered.
If you live in a location that has neighborhood mailboxes and an outgoing mail slot, put the letter in there.
You also can drop the letter in a blue collection box located on city streets.
Or take it to your local Post Office.
How to Calculate Postage for Packages
Size matters. Postage for packages depends on weight and size.
You can take the package to the Post Office to be weighed and then pay for postage.
Or you can use flat-rate boxes and use the Click-N-Ship service.
How to Address a Package
Just like a letter and card, only larger.
Maybe use a permanent marker instead of a pen.
Flat-Rate Boxes and Click-N-Ship
Flat-rate boxes are free at your local Post Office (see How Can I Find a Post Office below).
You don’t have to worry about the weight — as long as the box can be sealed easily without changing its shape, it ships for the flat rate (depending on the size of box you choose).
And you can go online and (after a quick registration process) click on Print a Label.
Tape the label to the box. Now you have successfully addressed your package! Yay you!
How to Ship a Package
Click-N-Ship is electronic postage (through the internet) offered by the Postal Service. All you have to do is type your name as the sender, the recipient’s name, and submit a credit card for postage payment–and voila, you can create a label for shipping a package with postage. To access Click-N-Ship, just go to usps.com/ship. If you use Click-N-Ship, you can leave the package inside your mailbox if it fits (put the flag up!) or beside your mailbox (if you feel it’s safe) for your mail carrier to pick up while he or she is delivering your mail, or drop it into an iconic blue collection box, also if it fits.
You also can take your package to the local Post Office and drop it in the package slot without having to stand in line.
If you don’t use Click-N-Ship and prefer to ship the package using postage stamps, you will need to take the package to the Post Office and have a person at the retail counter assist.
How Can I Find a Post Office?
The Postal Service has more than 31,000 Post Offices around the country. Most cities have more than one.
You can find the closest location by going to usps/locator.
Type in your City and State or ZIP Code and choose a distance that works for you — between 1 and 100 miles).
Click on the Post Office you want to go to and you’ll be given directions to get there.
Why It’s Important to Send a Thank-You Note
It’s about common courtesy. When someone gives you something, you thank them. When someone sends you something, you send them back a thank-you note. It also helps confirm to the sender that you actually received it.
- Be grateful and appreciative
- Send it in a timely manner — maybe within a week or two of receiving the gift
- Even if you don’t like what was sent, someone took the time to buy it, package it and get it to you! Say thank you!
Please check back each week to see what we’ve posted to make your holidays less stressful.
Happy Holidays from the U.S. Postal Service!