Pennsylvania – If you want to get that Christmas card to someone before the holiday arrives, you’re running out of time!
Today is the last day to mail something out to an overseas military base if you want it to get there by Christmas.
Then this Thursday, Dec. 20, it’s the last day to send any first-class mail and first-class packages under 16 ounces that need to arrive before the 25th. That includes any greeting cards that you want to send.
That’s for anywhere in the United States. If you want to mail a card to another country and are not mailing to a military base, there’s no guarantee right now that it’ll arrive by Christmas.
If you spend a little extra for priority mail express, you can send your cards and packages anywhere in the United States by this Saturday, Dec. 22.
2018 Holiday Shipping Dates for Contiguous United States
These are the recommended send-by dates for expected delivery before Dec. 25 by USPS. Click Here for the full guide from the postal service.
- First-class mail service (including Christmas cards) – Thursday, Dec. 20
- Priority mail service – Thursday, Dec. 20
- Priority mail express service – Saturday, Dec. 22
- UPSPS retail ground – deadline was Dec. 14
This week is supposed to be the busiest week of the year for the post office, so give yourself some extra time because there will likely be a line.
The United State Postal Service is expecting to deliver nearly 16 billion letters, cards, and packages this holiday season. That’s enough for every person in the United States to get 48 pieces of mail!
More information directly from USPS:
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Postal Service expects to deliver nearly 15 billion pieces of mail and 900 million packages, for a total of nearly 16 billion cheerful deliveries this holiday season – the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.
“The Postal Service is ready to deliver for the holiday season. We have increased our operating capacity to include additional transportation and extended our delivery windows,” said Megan J. Brennan, Postmaster General and CEO. “Our dedicated employees are proud to deliver more packages to homes than any other shipper.”
Once again the Postal Service is expanding its Sunday delivery operations to locations with high package volumes beginning Nov. 25. The Postal Service already delivers packages on Sundays in most major cities, and anticipates delivering more than 8 million packages on Sundays this December. Mail carriers will also deliver packages on Christmas Day in select locations.
Delivering for the Troops and Overseas
The Postal Service also processes mail for overseas Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of State (DoS) recipients. Interestingly, the DoD measures their mail volumes in pounds not pieces, and it’s expected that the Postal Service will process more than 16 million pounds of mail for DoD and DoS recipients between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve.
Busiest Mailing and Delivery Days
With an increase in early and online shopping for gifts, there is no longer a “busiest day” for holiday shipping. Instead, the Postal Service’s busiest time is now two weeks before Christmas. Starting the week of Dec. 10, customer traffic is expected to increase, and the Postal Service expects to deliver nearly 200 million packages per week during these two weeks. The week of Dec. 17-23 is predicted to be the busiest mailing, shipping and delivery week, when nearly 3 billion pieces of First-Class Mail, including greeting cards, will be processed and delivered.
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. 17 will be the Postal Service’s busiest day online with more than 8 million consumers predicted to visit usps.com for help shipping that special holiday gift. It’s predicted that nearly 105 million consumers will visit our website between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. And usps.comis always open.
It’s estimated nearly 400,000 consumers will use the Click-N-Ship feature and other online services on Dec. 17 to order free Priority Mail boxes, print shipping labels, purchase postage and even request free next-day Package Pickup.
What’s New this Year
Informed Delivery is the Postal Service’s free daily digital preview of what’s coming to your mailbox. This holiday season, not only can you manage your packages and sneak a peek at cards headed your way, you can also see some exterior images of magazines and catalogs — all from your mobile app, dashboard, tablet or computer. Informed Delivery is one more way the Postal Service is helping you anticipate, communicate and celebrate this holiday season.
2018 Holiday Shipping Deadlines
The Postal Service recommends the following mailing and shipping deadlines*:
- Dec. 4 – 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
- Dec. 14 – USPS Retail Ground
- Dec. 18 – APO/FPO/DPO (except ZIP Code 093) USPS Priority Mail Express
- Dec. 20 – First-Class Mail (including greeting cards)
- Dec. 20 – First-class packages (up to 15.99 ounces)
- Dec. 20 – Hawaii to mainland Priority Mail and First-Class Mail
- Dec. 20 – Priority Mail
- Dec. 20 – Alaska to mainland Priority Mail and First-Class Mail
- Dec. 22 – Alaska to mainland Priority Mail Express
- Dec. 22 – Hawaii to mainland Priority Mail Express
- Dec. 22 – Priority Mail Express
*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 22 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.
Additional news and information, including all domestic, international and military mailing and shipping deadlines, can be found at the Postal Service Holiday Newsroom at 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.
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For U.S. Postal Service media resources, including broadcast quality video and audio and photo stills, visit the USPS Newsroom. Follow us on Twitter,Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. Subscribe to the USPS YouTube Channel, like us on Facebook and enjoy our Postal Posts blog. For more information about the Postal Service, visit usps.com and facts.usps.com. Additional news and information about Holiday mailing and shipping can be found at the Postal Service Holiday Newsroom: usps.com/holidaynews.