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What you need to know before mailing Christmas presents

(95.3 MNC)

The U.S. Postal Service will deliver more than 15 billion pieces of mail this holiday season. In the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, the Postal Service also expects to deliver 850 million packages, which is more than a 10 percent increase compared to the same period last year.

The Postal Service will be expanding its Sunday delivery operations to locations with high package volumes beginning Nov. 26. Mail carriers will also deliver packages on Christmas Day in select locations.

Busiest Mailing and Delivery Days
With an increase in early and online shopping for gifts, there is no longer a “busiest day” for holiday shipping. Instead, the Postal Service’s busiest time is now two weeks before Christmas. Starting the week of Dec. 11, customer traffic is expected to increase, with the week of Dec. 18 – 24 predicted to be the busiest mailing, shipping, and delivery week. During this week, nearly 3 billion pieces of First Class Mail, including greeting cards, will be processed and delivered. The Postal Service also expects to deliver nearly 200 million packages per week during these two weeks.

Skip the Trip and Ship Online 
While there may not be a busiest day for shipping this year, the Postal Service anticipates that Dec. 18 will be the Postal Service’s busiest day online. Customers can avoid holiday hassles by visiting — the Postal Service’s website that helps make mailing and shipping easier than ever. Millions of customers will skip the trip to the Post Office altogether and take advantage of convenient online shipping this holiday season. Click-N-Ship and other online services allow customers to order free Priority Mail boxes, print shipping labels, purchase postage and even request free next-day Package Pickup from the mail carrier.

The Postal Service offers a new feature this year to help you track and schedule package delivery. The Informed Delivery tool not only allows you to see your incoming mail and packages, it also allows you to reschedule delivery of your packages to ensure you’re able to be home to receive them.

2017 Holiday Shipping Deadlines
The Postal Service recommends the following mailing and shipping deadlines:

  • Dec. 11    – APO/FPO/DPO Priority Mail & First Class Mail
  • Dec. 14    – USPS Retail Ground
  • Dec. 15    – Hawaii to Mainland Priority Mail & First Class
  • Dec. 16    – APO/FPO/DPO USPS Priority Mail Express
  • Dec. 16    – First Class Packages (up to 15.99 ounces)
  • Dec. 19    – First Class Mail (including greeting cards)
  • Dec. 20    – Priority Mail
  • Dec. 20    – Hawaii to Mainland Priority Mail Express
  • Dec. 20    – Alaska to Mainland Priority Mail & First Class
  • Dec. 21    – Alaska to Mainland Priority Mail Express
  • Dec. 22    – Priority Mail Express

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