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Holidays Are Approaching: Do You Know USPS Shipping Deadlines?


Despite 2020's best efforts, the holidays are approaching

Published on October 08, 2020

It’s that time already? The days have blended this year more than usual due to daily-routine changes courtesy of the pandemic. But now it’s time to focus on happier times ahead over the next few weeks as the holidays get closer, and who isn’t excited to do that?

As always, the U.S. Postal Service has you covered with all the important 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.

2020 Holiday Shipping Deadlines

The Postal Service recommends the following mailing and shipping deadlines for expected delivery by Dec. 25 to domestic addresses and Air/Army Post Office/Fleet Post Office/Diplomatic Post Office 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. 15 — USPS Retail Ground service
Dec. 18 — APO/FPO/DPO (except ZIP Code 093) USPS Priority Mail Express service
Dec. 18 — First-Class Mail service (including greeting cards)
Dec. 18 — First-class packages (up to 15.99 ounces)
Dec. 19 — Priority Mail service
Dec. 23 — Priority Mail Express* service

*Not a guarantee, unless otherwise noted. Dates are for estimated delivery before Dec. 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 Dec. 22 through Dec. 25, the money-back guarantee applies only if the shipment was not delivered, or delivery was not attempted, within two business days.

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. 14 will be the Postal Service’s busiest day online with more than 13 million consumers predicted to visit usps.com for help shipping that special holiday gift. And usps.com is always open.

It’s estimated nearly 500,000 consumers will use the Click-N-Ship feature and other online services on Dec. 14 to order free Priority Mail boxes, print shipping labels, purchase postage and even request free next-day Package Pickup.

Busiest Time

While holiday shopping is going to be different this year for many reasons, one thing hasn’t changed. The Postal Service still has its busiest time, which starts two weeks before Christmas. Beginning the week of Dec. 7, customer traffic is expected to increase, with the week of Dec. 14-21 predicted to be the busiest mailing, shipping and delivery week.

More tips for a successful holiday mailing and shipping season:

  • Use free Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes. They are available at local Post Offices or online at usps.com/freeboxes.
  • Make it easy with Click-N-Ship. You can create shipping labels and pay for postage online at usps.com/ship.
  • Schedule a free Package Pickup when the carrier delivers your mail. It’s free regardless of the number of packages. Or, pickups can be scheduled at usps.com/pickup.
  • Mail and packages that weigh more than 10 ounces and/or are more than a half-inch thick using stamps as postage cannot be dropped into a collection box or left for a carrier to pick up. Instead, take them to a window clerk at a Post Office.

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.