NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — With just 10 days until Christmas, Santa’s delivery elves are working overtime.
That means it’s extra busy for shippers as well. Monday is the peak shipping day of the season for FedEx and the U.S. Postal Service.
The post office, which is the nation’s largest shipper, expects to process 640 million pieces of mail on Monday, up 33 million from last year. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, it expects to deliver 12.7 billion cards, letters and packages. An additional 3 billion will be shipped between Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
FedEx expects to handle 22.6 million shipments on Monday. It is one of three days this month — all Mondays — when FedEx expects to handle more than 20 million packages. This season, FedEx projects making 290 million deliveries, up nearly 9% over last year.
Mondays tend to be busier because of volume built up over the weekend, when people spend more time shopping or writing Christmas cards. To handle all those packages and make the spikes more manageable, the Postal Service, FedEx and UPS deliver on all seven days of the week this season, and they hire thousands of extra hands.
UPS said it expects next Monday to be its busiest day, handling 34 million packages. It is planning for 585 million packages this month.
Experts are projecting a big increase in online shopping this season, another test of the already-stressed shipping system. Last year, Amazon and UPS tested the limits of on-time delivery for Christmas, and the companies were forced to offer gift cards after many orders did not make it in time.
This year, Amazon isn’t taking any chances. The online shopping giant says there are just four days left to place an order for free delivery by Christmas.