A look at the deadlines for overseas and domestic holiday mail delivery

In a December, 2015 photo, Senior Airman Kian Manning of the 374th Post Office at Yokota Air Base, Japan, sorts through a mountain of packages.


By LEADA GORE | Alabama Media Group, Birmingham | Published: November 18, 2019

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Tribune News Service) — The U.S. Postal Service will be doing its part to make the season bright this year.

The USPS estimates it will deliver 28 million packages per day between Dec. 16-20, about 7 million more than its average number of daily deliveries the remainder of the year. Package traffic is expected to increase beginning Dec. 9 and continue to remain high until about the week before Christmas.

To accommodate the heavy volume, the postal service will expand Sunday package delivery in high volume areas beginning Nov. 24.

2019 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

  • Dec. 14 — USPS Retail Ground

  • Dec. 18 — APO/FPO/DPO (except ZIP Code 093) USPS Priority Mail Express

  • Dec. 20 — First-Class Mail (including greeting cards)

  • Dec. 20 — First-Class packages (up to 15.99 ounces)

  • Dec. 21 — Priority Mail

  • Dec. 23 — Priority Mail Express*


  • Dec. 18 — Alaska to mainland First-Class Mail

  • Dec. 19 — Alaska to mainland Priority Mail

  • Dec. 21 — Alaska to mainland Priority Mail Express


  • Dec. 19 — Hawaii to mainland Priority Mail and First-Class Mail

  • Dec. 21 — Hawaii to mainland Priority Mail Express

Delivering for the Military and Overseas

The Postal Service also processes mail for overseas Department of Defense and Department of State recipients. The DOD measures mail volumes in pounds not pieces, and USPS expects to process more than 15 million pounds of mail for DOD and DOS recipients between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve.

More tips for a successful holiday mailing and shipping season:

  • Use free Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes. They are available at local Post Offices or online at usps.com/free boxes.

  • 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. Or, pickups can be scheduled at usps.com/pickup.

  • New this year, mail and packages weighing more than 10 ounces and/or are more than a half-inch thick using stamps as postage cannot be dropped into a collection box or left for a carrier to pick up. Instead, take them to a window clerk at a Post Office. Click-N-Ship customers are unaffected by this change.

©2019 Alabama Media Group, Birmingham
Visit Alabama Media Group, Birmingham at www.al.com
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