Utah post offices are expecting more than 2 million cards and packages to be mailed on Monday, the busiest mailing day of the year.

Fully staffed U.S. Postal Service post offices will greet customers, and postal managers will be in lobbies to answer customer questions and assist in preparing packages for mailing.

Customers are encouraged to mail early and conveniently using usps.com, free package pickup and automated postal centers.

"We know time is scarce during the holidays, so we're working hard to make our products and services convenient for our customers," said Ken McArthur, the Postal Service's Salt Lake District manager.

Virtually all of the services found at a post office are available from home at usps.com, including Click-N-Ship and free package pickup, where customers can print mailing labels with postage for priority mail, express mail and international packages using their debit or credit card. Customers can then request a free pickup of those packages by their letter carrier the next day.

Priority mail, flat-rate boxes take the weight out of mailing. Ship anything that fits into the boxes, up to 70 pounds, to any destination in the United States, including military addresses, for $8.95. Just ensure the items fit without altering the box. The boxes are free and available at each post office.

Automated postal centers are located in the lobbies of 29 Utah post offices, making buying stamps and mailing holiday packages convenient and available 24/7. The self-service kiosks are easy to use, and accept credit and debit cards.

Customers are encouraged to use priority mail through Thursday and express mail through Saturday. Last-minute packages can be delivered Christmas Eve and Christmas Day via express mail. For international packages, use Global Express Guaranteed service through Wednesday.

Holiday mailing tips from the Postal Service:

• When preparing your package for mailing, use a strong, sturdy box, available at post offices.

• Never guess at a ZIP Code — no ZIP is better than a wrong ZIP.

• Package the contents of your parcel tightly and securely using newspaper, bubble wrap or other cushioning available at your post office. Package cookies, fruitcake and food items in leak-proof containers or secure protective wrapping.

• Seal your package with strong, reinforced packing tape. Do not use paper or string on the outside of the package. They can get tangled in mail processing equipment.

• Call 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777) or go online at usps.com to get the holiday customer service hours of your local post office, purchase holiday stamps, print postage-paid mailing labels, request a free package pickup, check rates, ZIP codes and more.

• Print addresses clearly. Include all address elements, including apartment numbers, suite numbers and directional information. Print return address in the upper left corner.

• The best time for taking your packages directly to the post office for mailing is mid-morning or mid-afternoon.

• Package senders are encouraged to purchase delivery confirmation service and insurance.

• Remove batteries from toys. Wrap and place them next to the toys in the mailing box.

• For holiday cards and letters, the post office offers several colorful 41-cent holiday-themed stamps, including "Holiday Knits," "Madonna and Child" and others recognizing Eid, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.