Mailing Christmas gifts this holiday season?
If you want your packages to be under the tree by Dec. 25, make sure you don’t miss this year’s shipping deadlines.
The United States Postal Service this year is expecting to deliver 15.5 billion cards, letters and packages from Thanksgiving through New Year’s — the highest volume since 2011, according to a news release from the postal service. This year, Dec. 15 is projected to be the busiest mailing day, with about 640 million pieces of mail being dropped off at post offices and boxes nationwide.
The busiest delivery day for cards and letters is expected two days later. Carriers will be busiest delivering packages on Dec. 18.
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Post offices across the country will be open on Christmas Eve — and New Year’s Eve, too — but most plan to close at noon and will reopen Dec. 26. Only priority mail express will be delivered on Christmas Day.
Shipping services Fed-Ex and UPS also offer limited delivery on Christmas Day, but most pickups and deliveries will end Christmas Eve and resume Dec. 26, according to shipping calendars posted on the companies’ websites.
To ensure all of your Christmas cheer gets to recipients on time, the postal service suggests mailing your holiday cards, letters and packages bound for U.S. addresses by the following dates:
▪ Dec. 15, for standard post
▪ Dec. 20, for first-class mail
▪ Dec. 20, for priority mail
▪ Dec. 23, for priority mail express
Military mailing deadlines to most military zip codes are Dec. 10 for priority mail and first-class mail, and Dec. 17 for priority mail with express military service. The shipping deadline for APO/FPO AE zip 093 was Dec. 3.
International mail sent via priority mail express should be shipped by Dec. 10. For global express guaranteed mail, ship by Dec. 17.
First-class packages can be shipped to some continents and countries as late as Dec. 9 for Christmas delivery. The priority mail international deadline to some foreign countries, including Canada and those in Europe, is Dec. 12.
For more information on any USPS holiday shipping deadline, go to www.usps.com/holiday/.
For those shipping packages via UPS wanting delivery in time for Christmas:
▪ Dec. 22 – last day to ship UPS 2nd Day Air packages
▪ Dec. 23 – last day to ship UPS Next Day Air packages
▪ Dec. 24 – normal delivery of air, international and ground packages
▪ Dec. 25 – UPS Express Critical service only
FedEx is offering its Custom Critical and same day shipping services only on Christmas Day. For holiday shipping deadlines for FedEx’s express, ground and home delivery services, check out the ground service maps at www.fedex.com/us/holiday/last-days-to-ship.html.