Before you know it, it will be time for the holidays again.
Fortunately, the U.S. Postal Service has your back with all the mailing deadlines you need to know for the expected delivery of cards and gifts to your loved ones, whether they’re overseas or across the country.
2019 Holiday Shipping Deadlines
The Postal Service recommends the following mailing and shipping deadlines for expected delivery by Dec. 25 to Air/Army Post Office/Fleet Post Office/Diplomatic Post Office and domestic addresses*:
• Nov. 6 — APO/FPO/DPO (all ZIP Codes) USPS Retail Ground® service
• Dec. 9 — APO/FPO/DPO (ZIP Code™ 093 only) Priority Mail® and First-Class Mail®
• Dec. 11 — APO/FPO/DPO (all other ZIP Codes) Priority Mail and First-Class Mail services
• Dec. 14 — USPS Retail Ground service
• Dec. 18 — APO/FPO/DPO (except ZIP Code 093) USPS Priority Mail Express® service
• Dec. 20 — First-Class Mail service (including greeting cards)
• Dec. 20 — First-class packages (up to 15.99 ounces)
• Dec. 21 — Priority Mail service
• Dec. 23 — Priority Mail Express* service
• Dec. 18 — Alaska to mainland First-Class Mail service
• Dec. 19 — Alaska to mainland Priority Mail service
• Dec. 21 — Alaska to mainland Priority Mail Express service
• Dec. 19 — Hawaii to mainland Priority Mail and First-Class Mail services
• Dec. 21 — Hawaii to mainland Priority Mail Express service
*Not a guarantee, unless otherwise noted. Dates are for estimated delivery before December 25.
Actual delivery date may vary depending on origin, destination, Post Office™ acceptance date and time and other conditions.
Some restrictions apply.
For Priority Mail Express® shipments mailed December 21 through December 25, the money-back guarantee applies only if the shipment was not delivered, or delivery was not attempted, within two (2) business days.
Busiest Mailing and Delivery Days
Thanks to more people shopping earlier and shopping online, the Postal Service’s “busiest day” notion is now a thing of the past.
Instead, the Postal Service now has a busiest time, and it starts two weeks before Christmas.
Beginning the week of Dec. 9, customer traffic is expected to increase, with the week of Dec. 16 - 22 predicted to be the busiest mailing, shipping and delivery week.
Skip the Trip and Ship Online
Consumers don’t even have to leave home to ship their packages, simply visit usps.com.
The Postal Service anticipates Dec. 16 will be the Postal Service’s busiest day online with more than 8.5 million consumers predicted to visit usps.com for help shipping that special holiday gift. And usps.com is always open.
It’s estimated nearly 400,000 consumers will use the Click-N-Ship® feature and other online services on Dec. 16 to order free Priority Mail boxes, print shipping labels, purchase postage and even request free next-day Package Pickup.
New this year
There have been some changes made to how you can ship your packages this year.
For safety reasons, as of Oct. 1, you can no longer drop off stamped packages – which means using individual stamps as postage – that are more than one-half inch thick and/or weighing more than 10 ounces into blue collection boxes, building mail chutes, or Post Office mail slots.
Instead you must go to a retail counter or use the self-service kiosk (SSK) to purchase a postage label.
If you opt to use the SSK to buy a postage label, you can drop off your package in the package slot, not the mail slot, at a Post Office.
If a restricted package is found in a collection box, mail chute or lobby mail slot it will be returned to sender.
Mail that is returned to sender will have a Customer Return Label attached explaining the restrictions and reason for return.
So don’t take any chances this year, make sure to follow the new package mailing guidelines.
Click-N-Ship customers are unaffected by this change.
Additional news and information, including all domestic, international and military mailing and shipping deadlines, can be found at the Postal Service Holiday Newsroom: usps.com/holidaynews.
The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.
More USPS® holiday news, including shipping deadlines and Santa mail, can be found at usps.com/holidaynews.