The Holiday Rush is On At the U.S. Post Office

December 19, 2011 Updated Dec 19, 2011 at 8:19 AM EDT

By Jaclyn Asztalos

December 19, 2011 Updated Dec 19, 2011 at 8:19 AM EDT

Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW) - Many people may have their shopping done but now the deadline is approaching at the U.S. Post Office to get packages to their destination for Christmas Day.

Some post offices around the country including counties near Los Angeles were open on Sunday to get a head start on getting these packages out. Post office officials project that they will send out 16.5 billion packages this holiday season. Monday and Tuesday are expected to be the busy mailing days of the year.

They expect the most packages to be sent out Monday and more letters and cards on Tuesday. Customers will see long lines at post offices here in Western New York and around the country.

"I was raised by a southern grandma and she says to get things done early so I'm living by that," post office patron said.

If you are sending packages first class to have them to loved ones by Christmas Day the deadline is Tuesday. Priority mail must be sent by Wednesday and if you're using express mail, parcels must be shipped no later than Thursday.

Lastly, if you're shipping something internationally, the deadline is Monday.