CHAPEL HILL – This is a hectic time of year for the US Postal Service, as 545 million pieces of mail are expected to be processed every day throughout this holiday season.

Carl Walton, spokesman for the US Postal Service in our region, says that the busiest mailing day this season was this past Monday. More than 600 million pieces of mail were expected to be processed, and six million customers were expected to visit Post Offices nationwide.

“It was kind of like our Super Bowl,” Walton says. “We geared up for that all year. That is the day after the biggest weekend of shopping, or at least one of the biggest weekends of shopping. People feel they come in right after doing their shopping, get it into the system, and get it where it needs to go so they can make sure it gets there before Christmas.”

15 billion pieces of mail are expected to be delivered between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, according to data collected by the USPS. Competitive package volume also is expected to increase by approximately 12 percent from last year to about 420 million packages during the 2013 holiday season.

Walton says many locations will extend hours this time of year. If you do you encounter long lines in your local post office location, there are other options to consider.

“We have automated postal centers, 24 hour kiosks that people can come in and use all hours of the day. We have post offices in supermarkets and places like that where people can go. There are all different kinds of places where people can go.”

Walton advises that people try to avoid the lunchtime rush and get their packages mailed before 11:00 a.m.

The busiest delivery day for sending mail is Wednesday, and the busiest day for sending packages is Thursday.

“We’re seeing a constant flow [of people]. We see it every year. And again we gear up for it,” Walton says. “Our goal is to get everything into the system so it can get to where it has to go.”

The Postal Service expects to deliver holiday greetings and gifts to more than 152 million addresses nationwide.