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Nothing comes as close to finding a batch of presents under the tree than discovering a mailbox full of letters and packages. While securing your mail is important, it’s also necessary to select a postbox that melds with your home’s exterior decor and has decorative appeal of its own. While browsing through mailboxes, be sure to consider the following tips:

Is there anything I should consider before installing a new mailbox?

Not only should you keep in mind your own personal preferences when choosing your new letter box, you should also look for one stamped with the United States Postal Service postmaster general’s seal of approval. If you’re installing a new postbox or if you’re moving mailbox locations, it’s also recommended that you contact your local postmaster for approval before installation.

What postbox styles are available?

When choosing the kind of letter box you’ll be adding to your home, consider how much mail you generally receive as well as your aesthetic preferences. In general, you can choose from the following styles:
• Post mounts: This style is ideal for curbside mailboxes. The box sits atop a post that’s installed in the ground, and there are dozens of sizes, colors and styles of this design to choose from.
• Wall mounts: Wall-mount mailboxes are often installed near the front door or beside a gate. They’re available in a range of sizes and styles.
• Freestanding: This design doesn’t require any poles to be set into the ground. Featuring decorative casings, they can be extremely customizable.
• Mail slot: This style isn’t a true box; it allows mail to be delivered straight into your home via a slot in your front door.

Where should I install my letter box?

The U.S. Postal Service has specific recommendations for placement of your mailbox. Be sure to follow these guidelines to ensure that your postmaster will be able to safely deliver your letters and goodies.
• Curbside: You’ll want to position your box about 40 to 45 inches off the ground and approximately 6 to 8 inches back from the curb. This will allow your delivery person to drop your mail inside without leaving the truck.
• Wall mounted: If you’re mounting your postbox to your wall or fence, make sure your mail carrier will have easy access to it from your steps, porch or sidewalk. Your box should be about 4 feet from the ground so your mail carrier doesn’t have to stretch or bend over to place mail inside.
• Mail slot: If you prefer to install a mail slot, look for one with an opening that’s at least 1½ inches high and 7 inches long. Be sure the bottom of your slot is at least 30 inches above the ground and that the slot has a hood that doesn’t extend past the bottom or side of the plate. The flap should be hinged at the top for horizontal slots, and vertical slots should include a hinge on the side opposite your front door’s hinges.

What additional features can I add to my mailbox?

To avoid your mail’s being tampered with, you might consider adding a lock to your postbox. Mailboxes also come in extra-large sizes to allow for more space, and some designs even open in the front or back for easier access. Many also come with decorative scrollwork and designs, plus built-in extras like planters and newspaper holders.