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Illustration for article titled Send Your Holiday Packages Early This Year
Photo: George Sheldon (Shutterstock)

Every year, the United States Postal Services (USPS) asks us to send our packages and greeting cards as early as possible in the holiday season. But this year, they’re really serious about it. This is always a very busy time of the year for mail carriers, but throw a pandemic and an already difficult year and it’s a recipe for delays. Here’s what to know about mailing holiday packages in 2020.

Get an early start

Even with the addition of seasonal workers, the USPS is requesting that we mail our packages as soon as possible. Per a statement from the USPS:

During this unprecedented time, it is expected that more holiday gifts and greetings will be sent through the mail, 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.

Important mailing dates of the 2020 holiday season

It may seem as though we have a lot of time before Christmas, but when you take into consideration the busiest periods for the USPS, we really don’t:

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.

2 Years + 3 Months Free

If you’re aiming for packages to arrive by December 25th, the USPS recommends getting them in the mail by these dates at the absolute latest:

  • Dec. 15 — USPS Retail Ground service
  • Dec. 18 — 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

The money-back guarantee on Priority Mail Express shipments mailed Dec. 22 through Dec. 25 applies only if the package was not delivered, or delivery was not attempted, within two business days. Other than that, there are no guarantees—these dates are just estimates.

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