The calendar says October, and you’re contemplating fall-related items, such as pumpkin spiced anything, seasonal festivals, or what to wear for Halloween. The holidays seem so far away, but they’ll be here before you know it. With that in mind, the U.S. Postal Service has the mailing deadlines for the expected delivery of cards and gifts to your loved ones this holiday season.
2018 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®
- 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.
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. 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. During this week alone, the Postal Service expects to process and deliver nearly 3 billion pieces of First-Class Mail, including greeting cards.
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 the USPS website between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. 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. 17 to order free Priority Mail boxes, print shipping labels, purchase postage and even request free next-day Package Pickup.
New for this Year
Packages and cards have been sent on time, now what? USPS 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.