Amid Historic Volumes in an Extraordinary Year for Deliveries, the U.S. Postal Service Reinforces Importance of Mailing Packages Early
WASHINGTON, DC — In an extraordinary year of unprecedented challenges given the COVID-19 pandemic and a historic record of mail and package volume this holiday season, the Postal Service encourages customers to send their holiday gifts and cards as soon as possible.
“We thank our customers for their continued support, and we are committed to making sure gifts and cards are delivered on time to celebrate the holidays,” said Kristin Seaver, Chief Retail and Delivery Officer of the Postal Service. “We also thank our 644,000 employees who are working tirelessly throughout these unique conditions to ensure the delivery of holiday gifts and greetings.
Seaver added, “We continue to flex our network including making sure the right equipment is available to sort, process and deliver a historic volume of mail and packages this holiday season.”
While every year the Postal Service carefully plans for peak holiday season, a historic record of holiday volume compounded by a temporary employee shortage due to the COVID-19 surge, and capacity challenges with airlifts and trucking for moving this historic volume of mail are leading to temporary delays. These challenges are being felt by shippers across the board.
The Postal Service leadership team, the unions and management associations are all working in close collaboration to address issues and concerns as they arise as we focus on delivering the Holidays for the nation.
Seasonal workers are hired when and where needed, and technology has been expanded to enhance package tracking throughout the USPS processing and transportation networks. Sunday delivery expanded on Nov. 29 to locations with high package volumes. USPS already delivers packages on Sundays in most major cities. Mail carriers will also deliver packages for an additional fee on Christmas Day in select locations.
Other initiatives include, but aren’t limited to:
- Expanded holiday retail hours in select locations
- Expanded package delivery window — delivery in morning, afternoon, and early evening where volume warrants
- Expanded operational capacity with new equipment
- Lease extra vehicles as needed to expedite deliveries
Busiest Mailing and Delivery Days
The busiest time of the season peaks two weeks before Christmas, when much of the last-minute shopping starts. This week, Dec. 14-21, is predicted to be the busiest mailing, shipping and delivery week.
Skip the Trip and Ship Online
Consumers don’t have to leave home to ship their packages. In these socially distant times, they can simply visit usps.com or use the Click-N-Ship feature for help shipping that holiday gift, ordering free Priority Mail boxes, printing shipping labels, purchasing postage and even requesting free next-day Package Pickup. And usps.com is always open.
2020 Holiday Shipping Deadlines
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 and domestic addresses*:
- Dec. 15 — USPS Retail Ground service
- Dec. 18 — APO/FPO/DPO (except ZIP Code 093) USPS Priority Mail Express service
- Dec. 18 — First-Class Mail service (including greeting cards)
- Dec. 18 — First-class packages (up to 15.99 ounces)
- Dec. 19 — Priority Mail service
- Dec. 23 — Priority Mail Express* service
- Dec. 18 — Alaska to/from Continental U.S. First-Class Mail
- Dec. 19 — Alaska to/from Continental U.S. Priority Mail
- Dec. 21 — Alaska to/from Continental U.S. Priority Mail Express
- Dec. 15 — Hawaii to/from mainland Priority Mail and First-Class Mail
- Dec. 21 — Hawaii to/from mainland 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 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.
More tips for a successful holiday mailing and shipping season:
- Use free Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes. They are available at Post Office locations or online at usps.com/freeboxes.
- Make it easy with Click-N-Ship. You can create shipping labels and pay for postage online at usps.com/ship.
- Schedule a free Package Pickup when the carrier delivers your mail. It’s free regardless of the number of packages. Pickups can be scheduled at usps.com/pickup.
- Mail and packages that weigh more than 10 ounces or are more than a half-inch thick and using stamps as postage cannot be dropped into a collection box or left for a carrier to pick up. Instead, take them to a local Post Office.
- Additional news and information, including all domestic, international and military mailing and shipping deadlines, can be found on the Postal Service Holiday Newsroom at usps.com/holidaynews.
Additional news and information can be found on the Postal Service Holiday Newsroom at usps.com/holidaynews.
The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.