Send your holiday packages early this year.
That’s the message from the U.S. Postal Service, which says that the pandemic leading to both operational challenges and a big increase in shipping volumes. That, in turn, may cause delays as Americans rush to ship gifts to friends and family.
In-person sales were down for many retailers on Black Friday, but online sales hit new records. Today’s Cyber Monday online shopping event is expected to see a jump in sales, up to 15-35%, as many holiday shoppers hunker down at home.
Between the jump in e-commerce and more families staying apart for the holidays, USPS says the crush in package volume means you should send your gifts early in order to arrive by Dec. 25.
More from the Postal Service:
It is expected that more holiday gifts and greetings will be sent through the mail this year, as families and friends will hold virtual celebrations instead of opening gifts in person. The Postal Service always encourages customers to send their holiday gifts and cards early. This year is no different.
This has been an extraordinary year of unprecedented challenges given the Covid-19 pandemic and the Postal Service is expecting significant volume increases which are difficult to predict. 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.
The Postal Service begins planning for peak holiday season every January. To help handle the expected volume increase, the Postal Service has the ability to flex our network to meet the significant volume increases expected this year. This includes making sure the right equipment is available to sort, process and deliver the expected mail and package volumes. We also have 644,000 employees dedicated to ensuring gifts and greetings are delivered in time for the holidays.
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 will be expanded beginning 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.
Busiest Mailing and Delivery Days
The busiest time of the season peaks two weeks before Christmas, when much of the last-minute shopping starts. Customer traffic is expected to increase beginning Dec. 7, with the week of Dec. 14-21 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. 9 — APO/FPO/DPO (ZIP Code 093 only) Priority Mail and First-Class Mail
- Dec. 11 — APO/FPO/DPO (all other ZIP Codes) Priority Mail and First-Class Mail services
- 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
A list of shipping dates for a Christmas arrival with other carriers can be found here.