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Mail early during the holiday season

GRAND RAPIDS — It is expected that more holiday gifts and greetings will be sent through the mail this year, as families and friends will hold virtual celebrations instead of opening gifts in person. The Postal Service always encourages customers to send their holiday gifts and cards early. This year is no different. 

This has been an extraordinary year of unprecedented challenges given the COVID-19 pandemic and the Postal Service is expecting significant volume increases which are difficult to predict.

The Postal Service begins planning for peak holiday season every January. To help handle the expected volume increase, the Postal Service has the ability to flex our 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. We also have 644,000 employees dedicated to ensuring gifts and greetings are delivered in time for the holidays.

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 will be expanded beginning Nov. 29 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.

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 Dec. 7, with the week of Dec. 14-21 predicted to be the busiest mailing, shipping and delivery week.

Skip the Trip and Ship Online

Consumers don’t have to leave home to ship their packages. In these socially distant times, they can simply visit usps.com or use the Click-N-Ship feature for help shipping that holiday gift, ordering free Priority Mail boxes, printing shipping labels, purchasing postage and even requesting free next-day Package Pickup. And usps.com is always open.

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*:

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

Alaska

Dec. 18 — Alaska to/from Continental U.S. First-Class Mail

Dec. 19 — Alaska to/from Continental U.S. Priority Mail

Dec. 21 — Alaska to/from Continental U.S. Priority Mail Express

Hawaii

Dec. 15 — Hawaii to/from mainland Priority Mail and First-Class Mail

Dec. 21 — Hawaii to/from mainland Priority Mail Express

*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.

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