The Backbone of The Holidays


Raidon Bingham, Reporter

2020 the year the world caught on fire, fell ill, and went crazy taught us to live in a world of our own homes, running on goods from across the world without stepping outside the door frame. This world was run on 30-year-old trucks with no air conditioning, and men and women gently knocking on locked doors before scurrying away.

 As the US’s most used postal service, the United States Postal Service has long been acknowledged as a background force, humbly rumbling through neighborhoods in their iconic Grumman LLV trucks. Yet, even such a crucial titan of communication faces extinction in a nation that threatens to outpace it. According to the Government Accountability Office a non-partisan, non-profit watchdog organization that works with Congress to oversee taxpayer spending the USPS is a whopping $188 billion in debt. Now, facing budget cuts and revenue shortfalls, the USPS stares down the monstrous titan of holiday shipping. 

In the 1840s, America discovered a new, wondrous innovation: the Christmas card. Across the Atlantic, the first card had been sent in the winter months of 1843 by British civil servant Henry Cole the man who would go on to help form the legendary Victoria and Albert museum. After German innovator Louis Prang began mass-production of the cards in 1874, the already 99-year-old USPS saw an incredible spike in postal traffic every holiday season. What started with simple, artsy cards grew into a behemoth undergoing to mail a torrent of cards and packages every holiday season. Centuries later, the USPS would be responsible for mailing as many as 524 million packages in the 2014 holiday season. Yet, no matter how daunting the figure, the USPS has always come through, beating the odds while critically underfunded and desperately underequipped. 

Despite the Office’s nightmarish 2020 year – when it was facing attacks from its own postmaster-general – the USPS has once more risen to meet the gargantuan task of keeping the holiday season alive. With Thanksgiving over, the shipping season has already begun, and the USPS has readied itself to deliver a whopping 12 billion-plus parcels for the holiday season. In a website announcement, the Office emphasized its new financial plan, “Delivering for America”, in its continued high performance in the industry. USPS also announced its hiring of several dozens of thousands of employees, as well as its expansion of offices and office spaces. 

Spirits remain high for our old and faithful post office, and she may just yet pull through. This holiday season, say thank you to one of the postal officers working every day frozen in their open-door LLVs to get your parcel to your home in (relative) time.