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POSTAL SERVICE PREDICTS HOLIDAY MAIL INCREASE

The Postal Service expects to handle 20 billion pieces of mail between Thanksgiving and Christmas, up slightly from last year, the agency said Monday.

"It's a good time of year for us; we look forward to this time of year," Postmaster General John Potter said.

While the overall total averaged out to 670 million items per day, the peak mailing day is expected to be Dec. 20, as people send out cards the weekend before Christmas. Mailings could jump to 850 million items that day.

The busiest delivery day is expected to come two days later.

Potter said the agency is striving to make mailing as convenient as possible, selling stamps by phone at 1-800-STAMP-24 and via Internet at www.usps.com as well as at 38,000 post offices, 21,000 retail stores and 16,000 automatic teller machines.

Many post offices will extend hours, and some will open on Sundays.

Potter said the postal service has added a flat-rate priority mail box that can go anywhere in the country for $7.70 carrying "whatever you can fit in it."

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