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We Deliver for Yule

Unusual ways the Postal Service delivers the holidays

While kids around the world may believe the holidays are delivered by a jolly white-bearded man flying a sleigh, here at the Postal Service we run the real behind-the-scenes operation.

We keep a well-hidden secret: to deliver the magic, we need many ways to travel. Although we don’t have reindeer in our ranks anymore, we do have another four-hoofed animal. Sometimes, Santa rides not a sleigh, but snowmobile, mule or bicycle.

Here are just a few modes of transport used by our 644,000 employees operating on all different terrains and in all different weather conditions; all working towards one common goal: deliver the holidays on time.

Mules: From the top rim to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, mules carry an average of 130 pounds of mail and supplies along an 8-mile route to the Havasupai people who live there.

Snowmobiles: During the winter, snowmobiles carry mail in Alaska, Colorado, Minnesota, Montana, New York, Utah and Wisconsin when delivery by car isn’t possible.

Bicycles: Bicycles are used to deliver entire mail routes in three sunny states: Florida, Arizona and California.

Rope and pail: Mail is delivered to passing ships traveling on the Detroit River by rope and pail from the J.W. Westcott II, a floating mail boat Post Office with its own ZIP Code — 48222.

Mail boats: Dock-to-dock delivery on Alabama’s Magnolia River is provided to dock-side mailboxes along a 31-mile stretch of water.

Cable cars: Letter carriers in San Francisco sometimes catch rides on trolley cars that shuttle them up and down hills to their walking routes.

Airboat: In upstate New York, an airboat — a craft with a large propeller pushing air to move across the frozen space — is used when the water freezes around Grindstone Island in the St. Lawrence River.

Sustainable energy: There are about 40,000 USPS alternative fuel-capable vehicles around the nation.

Human-power: Almost 7,000 carriers deliver mail solely by foot.

The Postal Service reaches every residence, every delivery day, no matter where our customers live.

How does Santa deliver YOUR mail?

Written by Amy Gibbs, USPS Strategic Communications Specialist


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