Holiday shipping: USPS issues 2021 deadlines as crunch looms

WASHINGTON — Attention procrastinators: Get those holiday greetings and annual family Christmas letters prepped and ready to go.

With nationwide worker shortages and supply chain disruptions already threatening to limit the availability of 2021′s “must-have” gifts, the U.S. Postal Service doesn’t want your holiday correspondences or care packages to slip through the cracks as well.

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“No matter your plans, the Postal Service is ready to do its part to handle your special holiday greetings and gifts. But we also need you to do your part, and that is to make sure you get those packages and good wishes to your Post Office location on time,” the agency stated in a Monday news release, announcing its 2021 holiday shipping deadlines.

Specifically, the following “mail by” dates are recommended to ensure delivery in the continental United States by Dec. 25:

  • Dec. 15: USPS retail ground service
  • Dec. 17: First-class mail service (including holiday greeting cards)
  • Dec. 17: First-class packages (up to 15.99 ounces)
  • Dec. 18: Priority mail service
  • Dec. 23: Priority mail express service

Deadlines for Air/Army/Fleet/Diplomatic post office addresses to be received by Dec. 25 are as follows:

  • Nov. 6: Retail ground service
  • Dec. 9: Priority mail and first-class mail
  • Dec. 16: Priority mail express military service

Meanwhile, delivery deadlines for Hawaii and Alaska are as follows:

  • Dec. 17: Hawaii to/from mainland — priority mail and first-class mail
  • Dec. 18: Alaska to/from continental U.S. — first-class and priority mail
  • Dec. 21: Alaska to/from continental U.S. and Hawaii to/from mainland — priority mail express

>> Related: FedEx, UPS release 2021 shipping deadlines ahead of holiday surge

According to the agency, the busiest time of the holiday season for the USPS begin two weeks before Christmas, but customer traffic at all U.S. postal locations is expected to increase beginning the week of Dec. 6, with the week of Dec. 13-18 expected to be the season’s busiest mailing, shipping and delivery week.

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