The holiday stress has begun, with the craziness escalating with each day we check off our gift lists. But you can make things a lot smoother, if you get an early start at post office.

This holiday season the U.S. Postal Service is projecting 13.1-billion cards, letters and packages to be delivered between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve.

“She just got home today so I’m sending it out right now,” said one local resident. “A hat for my daughter and a hat for my granddaughter that my wife knitted herself.”

If you are sending holiday mail across the state or throughout the country, now is the time to do it to ensure that it arrives on time. On an average the postal service processes 528-million pieces of mail every day. During the holiday season the volume increases to 545-million pieces of mail daily.

“This year we are expecting an increase of 12%,” said a postal service official. “There is a deadline as to for people to send in their mail in order to arrive for the holidays. During this time of year your delivery dates will be a little bit longer.”

You want your loved ones to get there package on time, so keep these domestic mailing deadlines in time.

First class mail Dec. 20

Priority Mail Dec. 21

Priority Mail Express Dec. 23

For Standard Post be sure to send them out by this Saturday.

The U.S. Postal Service would also like to remind you that weather changes and airport delays can also play a factor in your mail being delivered on time.