USPS giving Santa a hand with holiday mailing schedule

November 28, 2018

The holidays aren’t so far away, and officials with the U.S. Postal Service have released this year’s holiday mailing schedule, to make sure those greeting cards and gift packages get to customers’ homes and under their trees in time for Christmas.

According to the USPS’s website, with the increasing popularity of shopping earlier and the convenience of online shopping, “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.”

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. 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 Dec. 22-25, the money-back guarantee applies only if the shipment was not delivered, or delivery was not attempted, within two (2) business days.

New to customers this year, too, is the USPS Informed Delivery, a free daily digital preview of what’s coming to the mailbox. Customers can manage packages and sneak a peek at cards, magazines and catalogs coming to an address — all from the mobile app, dashboard, tablet or computer.

UPSP officials recommend adorning holiday cards with this year’s Sparkling Holidays Commemorative Forever stamp, featuring classic images of jolly ol’ St. Nick himself.
“I have no doubt that the Sparkling Holidays stamps will quickly become favorites,” USPS Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President Joseph Corbett said in a release published on the USPS’s website.

“These four stamps feature classic images of Santa Claus, painted by Haddon Sundblom for The Coca-Cola Company. The paintings of the rosy-cheeked, smiling, grandfatherly man in his red suit embody the very essence of Santa.”

The Sparkling Holidays stamps, sold in booklets of 20, include four vintage portraits of Santa Claus that were originally published in ads for The Coca-Cola Company in the 1940s through the early 1960s. Sundblom is credited as the individual who most refined the modern image of Santa.

The Sparkling Holidays stamps, sold as Forever stamps, are always equal in value to the current First-Class Mail 1-ounce price. Customers may purchase the stamps and other products online at; by calling 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724); or at post offices nationwide.

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