Post Office: Send Your Holiday Packages Early

Photo by Jason Allentoff

  WASHINGTON, D.C. – More holiday gifts and greetings are expected to be sent through the mail this year, as families and friends hold virtual celebrations instead of opening gifts in person.

  The Postal Service always encourages customers to send their holiday gifts and cards early and this year there is more need to follow that advice.

  As 2020 has been a year of unique, unprecedented challenges given the coronavirus health crisis, the Postal Service is expecting significant volume increases which are difficult to predict.   

  2020 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. Please note these are not guarantees:

  • 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

  Deadlines are a few days earlier for Alaska and Hawaii.

  Busiest Mailing and Delivery Days

  The busiest time of the season peaks two weeks before Christmas, when much of the last-minute shopping starts. Customer traffic is expected to increase beginning December 7, with the week of December 14-21 predicted to be the busiest mailing, shipping and delivery week.

  Customers are encouraged to choose the “Click-N-Ship” option online to mail packages without having to visit the post office.

  The Postal Service starts planning for peak holiday season every January, officials said. To help handle the expected volume increase, it will flex its network to meet the significant volume increases expected this year.

  This includes making sure the right equipment is available to sort, process and deliver the expected mail and package volumes.

  Seasonal workers are hired when and where needed, and technology has been expanded to enhance package tracking throughout the USPS processing and transportation networks.

  Sunday delivery is being expanded to locations with high package volumes. USPS already delivers packages on Sundays in most major cities. Mail carriers will also deliver packages for an additional fee on Christmas Day in select locations.

  Additional news and information, including all domestic, international and military mailing and shipping deadlines, can be found on the Postal Service Holiday Newsroom at