U.S. Postal Service issues release on holiday shipping deadlines
Published 12:42 pm Friday, November 26, 2021
It’s already late November, and if you’re one of the millions of people shopping for gifts on Cyber Monday, you can count on the Postal Service to get your packages to their destination in time for holiday celebrations.
2021 Holiday Shipping Deadlines
No matter the time of year, on-time package deliveries start with the customer — and knowing when to ship your packages is key.
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 (APO/FPO/DPO) and domestic addresses:
- Dec. 9 — APO/FPO/DPO (all ZIP Codes) Priority Mail and First-Class Mail
- Dec. 15 — USPS Retail Ground service
- Dec. 16 — APO/FPO/DPO (except ZIP Code 093) USPS Priority Mail Express Military service
- Dec. 17 — First-Class Mail service (including greeting cards)
- Dec. 17 — First-Class packages (up to 15.99 ounces)
- Dec. 18 — Priority Mail service
- Dec. 23 — Priority Mail Express service
Alaska to/from Continental U.S.
- Dec. 18 — First-Class Mail
- Dec. 18 — Priority Mail
- Dec. 21 — Priority Mail Express
Hawaii to/from mainland
- Dec. 17 — Priority Mail and First-Class Mail
- Dec. 21 — Priority Mail Express
Not a guarantee, unless otherwise noted. Dates are for estimated delivery before Dec. 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 2 shipments mailed Dec. 22 through Dec. 25, the money-back guarantee applies only if the shipment was not delivered, or delivery was not attempted, within two business days.
To send packages to loved ones serving in the military or at diplomatic posts abroad, the Postal Service offers a discounted price of $21.15 on its largest Priority Mail Flat Rate Box. The price includes a $1.50-per-box discount for mail sent to APO/FPO/DPO destinations worldwide.
To handle this year’s holiday shipping, the Postal Service is expanding Sunday deliveries in high package volume locations. Mail carriers will also deliver Priority Mail Express packages on Christmas Day for an additional fee in select locations.
As a reminder, there are also temporary price increases in place through 12:01 a.m., Central Time, Dec. 26. The increase affects both retail and business customers for some of our more popular shipping products, which also includes military shipping.
International products are unaffected. These temporary rates will keep the Postal Service competitive while providing the agency with the revenue to cover extra costs in anticipation of peak-season volume surges like levels experienced in 2020.
Here are the temporary price increases for Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express, Parcel Select Ground, USPS Retail Ground, and First-Class Package Service:
- Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express Flat Rate Boxes and Envelopes: 75 cents
- Zones 1-4, 0-10 pounds: 25 cents
- Zones 5-9, 0-10 pounds: 75 cents
- Zones 1-4, 11-20 pounds: $1.50
- Zones 5-9, 11-20 pounds: $3
- Zones 1-4, 21-70 pounds: $2.50
- Zones 5-9, 21-70 pounds: $5.00
- First-Class Package Service: 30 cents
A zone-pricing calculator can be found online. A complete list of business products and prices is also available online.
The temporary adjustment is part of Delivering for America, the Postal Service’s 10-year plan for achieving financial sustainability and service excellence, which calls for appropriate pricing initiatives. Even with the temporary increase, the Postal Service has some of the lowest mail postage rates in the industrialized world and continues to offer great values in shipping.
Ship from Home
Don’t feel like going to the Post Office to drop off your special gift? You can stay home — cozy and socially distant — by going online. Visit usps.com or use the Click-N-Ship feature for help shipping that special holiday gift, ordering free Priority Mail boxes, printing shipping labels, purchasing postage, and even requesting free next-day Package Pickup.
Boxes are delivered within the U.S. with your regular mail, usually within seven to 10 business days. Exclusions apply. For details and to order, visit store.usps.com/store/home.
The busiest time of the season for the Postal Service begins two weeks before Christmas. It’s expected that customer traffic at all Post Office locations will steadily increase beginning the week of Dec. 6. The week of Dec. 13-18 is anticipated to be the busiest mailing, shipping, and delivery week of the season.
The Postal Service offers shipping tips in 10 video “how to” guides. Each video is less than three minutes long and shows how to properly address and ship packages, as well as how to pack a box so items arrive safely.
Mail and packages weighing more than 10 ounces and/or are more than a half-inch thick cannot be dropped into a collection box or left for a carrier to pick up if you’re using stamps for postage. Instead, take them to a retail associate at any of our Post Office locations or use one of our self-service kiosks to weigh your packages and print shipping labels.
Additional news and information — including all domestic, international, and military mailing and shipping deadlines — can be found at the Postal Service Holiday Newsroom: usps.com/holidaynews.
The Postal Service generally receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products, and services to fund its operations.