With many Americans shipping pre-Christmas gifts, the weeks ahead are historically among the most frequented for the United States Postal Service.
To ensure packages arrive in time to be opened on December 25, the USPS provides a clear and concise message: “Don’t delay, mail and ship today.”
But the postal agency also recommends recommend specific dates for customers to drop off packages by post if they expect delivery before Christmas.
For mail going anywhere in the lower 48 states, the USPS has said it will send gifts through its standard ground service by December 15. the postal service can expedite deliveries at a higher cost. To arrive before Christmas, the USPS says packages can be sent before December 17 if shipped via First Class service, December 18 if shipped via Priority Mail, and December 23 just one day before Christmas Eve, if shipped via Priority Mail Express. .
If customers are sending shipments to Alaska, Hawaii, a foreign country, or a military base, the Postal Service needs more time to deliver the packages.
For ground service, the recommended shipping deadline for packages to Alaska passed Thursday. But first class or priority mail can be shipped on December 18 to arrive in the country’s northernmost state before Christmas, and Priority Mail Express packages can be shipped on December 21.
If you’re sending gifts to Hawaii, land delivery naturally won’t do the trick. The USPS says to ship first class or priority mail by December 17 and priority express mail by December 21.
International and military shipments are getting more complicated. Delivery times vary by region for international packages, and recommended expiration dates may range from November 29, for First Class mail sent to Africa or Central and South America, through December 22, for guaranteed service. Global Express to Canada. Packages sent to military bases can also take a long time to arrive. First Class Military Mail service is expected to ship by December 9, but customers who miss this deadline should aim to send their mail by December 16 via Priority Mail Express.
For international and military mail, more detailed recommendations are available at USPS website.