Postal Service encourages sending packages early this holiday season; other shipping tips, deadlines

Stock image | Photo by Ipopba/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY — During this unprecedented time, it is expected that more holiday gifts and greetings will be sent through the mail than ever before, as families and friends will hold virtual celebrations instead of opening gifts in person. The U.S. Postal Service always encourages customers to send their holiday gifts and cards early, and this year is no different.

According to a press release, 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,” Floyd Wagoner said in the press release. “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.”

To handle this volume, the press release continues, seasonal workers are hired when and where needed, and technology has been expanded to enhance package tracking throughout the Postal Service processing and transportation networks.

While the Postal Service already delivers packages on Sundays in most major cities, Sunday delivery will be expanded beginning Nov. 29 to locations with high package volumes. Mail carriers will also deliver packages for an additional fee on Christmas Day in select locations.

“We thank our customers for their continued support, and our promise that we will continue to work hard to ensure their gifts and cards are delivered in time to virtually celebrate the holidays.”

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 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 is always open.

More tips for a successful holiday mailing and shipping season:

  • Use free Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes. They are available at Post Office locations or online.
  • Schedule a free Package Pickup when the carrier delivers your mail. It’s free regardless of the number of packages. Pickups can be scheduled online here.
  • Mail and packages that weigh more than 10 ounces or are more than a half-inch thick and using stamps as postage cannot be dropped into a collection box or left for a carrier to pick up. Instead, take them to a local Post Office.

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.


  • 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.


  • Dec. 15 — Hawaii to/from mainland Priority Mail and First-Class Mail.
  • Dec. 21 — Hawaii to/from mainland Priority Mail Express.

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

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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