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Holiday Shipping Deadlines Released By USPS

SAN FRANCISCO - DECEMBER 15: Stacks of boxes holding cards and letters are seen at the U.S. Post Office sort center December 15, 2008 in San Francisco, California. On its busiest day of the year, the U.S. Postal Service is expecting to process and mail over one billion cards, letters and packages. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)


Every year, the U.S. Postal Service releases its holiday shipping deadlines to help people plan when to send their Christmas gifts to make sure they arrive before December 25 (Christmas Day). Of course, sending presents and holiday cards as early as possible is the best way to avoid any issues, but not everyone plans ahead like that—for those deadline-driven people, the USPS holiday shipping deadlines 2020 can help.

This year, USPS recommends that anyone shipping gifts through USPS Retail Ground service put their items in the mail by December 15, 2020, to ensure they arrive before December 25. (Anyone mailing or shipping to Air/Army Post Office/Fleet Post Office/Diplomatic Post Office addresses should do so by November 6.) Retail Ground is the most affordable method of shipping through the Postal Service, but anyone able to pay more (or anyone running behind on their holiday prep) can ship or mail items by December 18 through First-Class Mail or packages services or by December 19 through Priority Mail Service. The Priority Mail Express service—the most costly option—has a December 23 deadline. You can see the full list of USPS holiday shipping deadlines for 2020 below.

USPS holiday shipping deadlines 2020 (for estimated delivery before December 25)

  • November 6: APO/FPO/DPO (all ZIP Codes) USPS Retail Ground service
  • December 9: APO/FPO/DPO (ZIP Code 093 only) Priority Mail and First-Class Mail
  • December 11: APO/FPO/DPO (all other ZIP Codes) Priority Mail and First-Class Mail services
  • December 15: USPS Retail Ground service
  • December 18: APO/FPO/DPO (except ZIP Code 093) USPS Priority Mail Express service
  • December 18: First-Class Mail service (including greeting cards)
  • December 18: First-class packages (up to 15.99 ounces)
  • December 19: Priority Mail service
  • December 23: Priority Mail Express service

When you’re making your to-do list for the holiday season, keep these deadlines in mind—but also plan ahead. Mail and shipping services in the U.S. (and around the world) have experienced huge delays during the COVID-19 pandemic; you’ve probably experienced more than a little frustration with lost or delayed packages and mail over the last several months. Remember that frustration, and then remember that the holidays are the busiest shipping season of the year and many people are unable to travel to be with family, so they may be shipping or mailing more items than ever.


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