Dec. 13, 2021

Our Priority: Delivering for the Holidays

It’s the Busiest Mailing and Shipping Week of the Year

  • Nearly 2.3 billion pieces of mail, including greeting cards and packages, will be processed and delivered the week of Dec. 13
  • Between 850 million and 950 million packages expected to be delivered between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day
  • A projected 12 billion-plus letters, cards and packages will be processed and delivered between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day

PMG Louis DeJoy
Video remarks from Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on holiday shipping progress are available here, on the USPS Newsroom

WASHINGTON, DC — This is the last week to get holiday gifts and greetings in the mail by the recommended deadlines. Since Dec. 6, customer traffic at all Post Office locations has been steadily increasing. But this week is expected to be the busiest week of the holiday mailing and shipping season.

“Now is the time to mail your holiday greetings and packages to make sure they reach their intended destination in time for holiday gatherings and celebrations,” said Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. “This will be the busiest week of mailing and shipping across the nation, but there is a spirit of excitement throughout the organization and our entire team is working around the clock to deliver the holidays for the nation.”

The holiday season at the Postal Service, also known as the peak season, runs from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. During this time, more than 12 billion letters, greeting cards and packages are expected to be processed and delivered to homes across the nation.

The Postal Service has been preparing for the peak season since spring, and the organization is confident it can meet the challenge head-on. Preparations included: the conversion of 63,000 pre-career employees into career positions and the onboarding of more than 185,000 employees since the beginning of last fiscal year, including the backfilling of the 63,000 pre-career employees and the national drive to hire an additional 40,000 seasonal employees, leasing 13 million square feet of additional space across more than 100 locations, including more than 50 annexes with multiyear leases to handle the increase in the number of packages being mailed and the installation of 112 new package sorting machines. Once again, Sunday delivery has been expanded in select high package volume locations. The Postal Service already delivers packages on Sundays in most major cities. Mail carriers will also deliver Priority Mail Express packages for an additional fee on Christmas Day in select locations.

Wrap It Up Without Leaving Home

If you prefer to handle shipping your gifts from home, you can use the Click-N-Ship feature on Customers can order free Priority Mail boxes*, print shipping labels, purchase postage and even request free next-day Package Pickup. As an added bonus, is always open.

*Boxes are delivered within the United States with your regular mail, usually within seven to 10 business days. Exclusions apply; for details and to order, visit

2021 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 (APO/FPO/DPO) and domestic addresses*:

  • Dec. 15 — USPS Retail Ground service
  • Dec. 16 — APO/FPO/DPO (except ZIP Code 093) USPS Priority Mail Express Military service
  • Dec. 17 — First-Class Mail service (including greeting cards)
  • Dec. 17 — First-Class packages (up to 15.99 ounces)
  • Dec. 18 — Priority Mail service
  • Dec. 23 — Priority Mail Express* service

Alaska to/from Continental U.S.

  • Dec. 18 — First-Class Mail
  • Dec. 18 — Priority Mail
  • Dec. 21 — Priority Mail Express

Hawaii to/from mainland

  • Dec. 17 — Priority Mail and First-Class Mail
  • Dec. 21 — 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.

Important Reminders

  • Mail and packages that weigh 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 retail associate at your local Post Office. This requirement does not apply to Click-N-Ship customers.
  • Certain items may have restrictions or prohibitions when it comes to sending through the mail. See the list of hazardous, restricted and perishable mail or ask a Postal Service employee for more information on what can and can’t be sent through the mail.
  • Battery-operated devices may turn on and make noise in transit. To prevent this, remove batteries from any battery-operated device, if possible, or make sure the device is turned off. Wrap and place the batteries next to the items in the package. Customers should include new batteries in the unopened, original manufacturer’s packaging, if at all possible

Additional Tips

The Postal Service also offers shipping tips in 10 video how to guides. Each video is less than three minutes long and addresses a different topic, such as how to address packages, how to ship packages, and how to pack a box so items arrive safely.

Additional news and information— including all domestic, international and military mailing and shipping deadlines — can be found at the Postal Service Holiday Newsroom:

The Postal Service generally receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.



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