By Gillian Hunt, Manager, Government and Industry Affairs, AF&PA
Does anyone else feel the excitement of getting holiday cards in the mail?
Growing up I remember, even as soon as November, the holiday cards from family and friends far and wide would come pouring in. Seeing the pictures and reading the annual updates kept us close with people we weren’t able to see every year and allowed us to share our accomplishments, hardships and adventures since the last slew of letters or haphazard phone calls.
My parents would keep them in a basket, and I would gather them up to read with a cup of hot chocolate by the fire. Many of them hung on our shutter doors leading from the kitchen to the dining room, on display as a reminder of our wonderful network of friends and family as well as festive décor. Some, with especially eye-catching winter scenes would be used in crafts creating holiday placemats or collages.
Looking back on our family letters now, I can reminisce about milestones in my own life like family trips, high school and college graduations, getting my first job, my brother’s wedding and so much more!
And we’re not alone in the holiday card excitement! According to the Greeting Card Association, “seven billion greeting cards are purchased in the U.S. each year, and annual retail sales are estimated at over $7.5 billion. Nine out of ten households buy an average of 30 individual cards per year.” Now that’s a lot of love going around!
Not only are holiday letters getting mailed, but, “the U.S. Postal Service expects to deliver nearly 15 billion pieces of mail and 900 million packages, for a total of nearly 16 billion cheerful deliveries this holiday season!” 
Be sure to get ahead of the busiest time of year for mailing. According to the U.S. Postal Service, “The week of December 17-23 is predicted to be the busiest mailing, shipping and delivery week. The Postal Service expects to process and deliver nearly 3 billion pieces of First-Class Mail during this week alone.”