Cover Story

Holiday Season 2019

This year, the Postal Service™ is reminding employees and customers that the holidays are our time to deliver. We have prepared all year for this season, and are ready to deliver across the country. Here are some important details to prepare for your holiday mailings.

Holiday Stamps


Holiday Stamps

The Postal Service offers a wide variety of contemporary and religious stamps for the holidays. Customers may purchase these stamps at Post Offices or online at Get the stamps while they last, including:

n Winter Berries.

n Holiday Wreaths.

n Kwanzaa.

n Global Poinsettia.

n Diwali.

n Holiday Windows.

n Florentine Madonna and Child.

n Hanukkah.

n Nativity.

n Eid Greetings.

2019 Holiday Mail-By Dates

Domestic Services

The Postal Service recommends customers in the U.S. visit a Post Office™ location no later than the dates in the table shown here for expected delivery by December 25 to Air/Army Post Offices/Fleet Post Offices/Diplomatic Post Offices (APOs/FPOs/DPOs) and domestic addresses*. For the complete list of mailing and shipping deadlines, go to



Domestic Mail Class/Product

Mail by Date

USPS Retail Ground®

Dec. 14

First-Class Mail® (including greeting cards)

Dec. 20

First-Class Packages (up to 15.99 ounces)

Dec. 20

Priority Mail®

Dec. 21

Priority Mail Express®*

Dec. 23

Alaska to Mainland First-Class Mail

Dec. 18

Alaska to Mainland Priority Mail

Dec. 19

Alaska to Mainland Priority Mail Express

Dec. 21

Hawaii to Mainland Priority Mail and First-Class Mail

Dec. 19

Hawaii to Mainland Priority Mail Express

Dec. 21

* Not a guarantee, unless otherwise noted. Dates are for estimated delivery before December 25, 2019. 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 December 21 through December 25, the money-back guarantee applies only if the shipment was not delivered, or delivery was not attempted, within two (2) business days.

International Services

We advise customers mailing internationally during the holidays to review the International Services chart for specific deadlines based on the locations they are mailing to and the service they are using. When mailing and shipping internationally, customers must also follow the necessary customs guidelines. For more information, visit the International Shipping page at


International Mail
Addressed To

Global Express Guaranteed® (GXG)***

Priority Mail Express International® (PMEI)

Priority Mail International® (PMI)

First-Class Package International Service® (FCPIS)


Dec. 19

Dec. 7

Nov. 30

Nov. 30

Asia/Pacific Rim

Dec. 19

Dec. 14

Dec. 7

Dec. 7

Australia/New Zealand

Dec. 19

Dec. 14

Dec. 7

Dec. 7


Dec. 19

Dec. 14

Dec. 7

Dec. 7


Dec. 19

Dec. 14

Dec. 7

Dec. 7

Central and South America

Dec. 18

Dec. 7

Nov. 30

Nov. 30


Dec. 18

Dec. 14

Dec. 7

Dec. 7


Dec. 19

Dec. 14

Dec. 7

Dec. 7

Middle East

Dec. 19

Dec. 14

Dec. 7

Dec. 7

* Not a guarantee, unless otherwise noted. Dates are for estimated delivery before December 25. Actual delivery date may vary depending on origin, destination, Post Office acceptance date and time, and other conditions, including customs delays.

*** GXG Notes:

1. Cut-off date does not take into account time needed for customs clearance.

2. Allocate extra transit day(s) for delivery outside major cities.

3. The GXG Money-Back Guarantee will be suspended December 18–24 for shipments delivered by the end of the day on the published delivery commitment date.

Military Mail

To send packages to loved ones serving in the military abroad, the Postal Service offers a discounted price of $18.45 on its largest Priority Mail Flat Rate® box. The price includes a $1.50 per box discount for mail sent to APO/FPO/DPO destinations worldwide.

Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes are available at no cost at local Post Offices or customers can order them online at Customers may print postage, labels, and customs forms online anytime using Click-N-Ship® at

To ensure timely delivery of holiday wishes by December 25, 2019, the Postal Service recommends that you send cards and packages to military APO/FPO/DPO addresses overseas no later than the mailing dates listed in the following table:


Military Mail Addressed
To and From

Priority Mail Express Military® Service (PMEMS)1

First-Class Mail Letters and Cards

Priority Mail

Parcel Airlift Mail (PAL)2

Space Available Mail (SAM)3

USPS Retail Ground



Dec. 11

Dec. 11

Dec. 4

Nov. 27

Nov. 6



Dec. 4

Dec. 4

Dec. 4

Nov. 27

Nov. 6


Dec. 18

Dec. 11

Dec. 11

Dec. 4

Nov. 27

Nov. 6


Dec. 18

Dec. 11

Dec. 11

Dec. 4

Nov. 27

Nov. 6


Dec. 18

Dec. 11

Dec. 11

Dec. 4

Nov. 27

Nov. 6


* Not a guarantee, unless otherwise noted. Dates are for estimated delivery before December 25. Actual delivery date may vary depending on origin, destination, Post Office acceptance date and time, and other conditions. Some restrictions apply.

1. PMEMS is available to selected military/diplomatic Post Offices. Check with your local Post Office to determine if this service is available to an APO/FPO/DPO address.

2. PAL is a service that provides air transportation for parcels on a space-available basis. It is available for USPS Retail Ground items not exceeding 30 pounds in weight or 60 inches in length and girth combined. The customer must pay the applicable PAL fee in addition to the regular surface price for each addressed piece sent by PAL service.

3. Customers pay for SAM parcels at USPS Retail Ground prices with maximum weight and size limits of 15 pounds and 60 inches in length and girth combined. SAM parcels are first transported domestically by surface and then to overseas destinations by air on a space-available basis.

Military Care Kit

The Postal Service has created a free Military Care Kit based on the items most frequently requested by military families. The kit contains:

1. Two Priority Mail APO/FPO/DPO Flat Rate boxes,

2. Two Priority Mail Medium Flat Rate boxes,

3. Priority Mail tape,

4. Priority Mail address labels, and

5. Appropriate customs forms.

To order the kit, call 800-610-8734. You can find guidelines for packing, addressing, and shipping items to U.S. troops at To order flat rate boxes featuring the “America Supports You” logo, go to

Addressing the Package

Use the following directions to properly address your military mail package:

n Write out the service member’s full name.

n Include the unit and APO/FPO/DPO address with the 9-digit ZIP Code™ (if one is assigned).

For example:

Army/Air Post Office (APO)
PSC 3 BOX 4120
APO AE 09021

Fleet Post Office (FPO)
UNIT 100100 BOX 4120
FPO AP 96691

Diplomatic Post Office (DPO)
UNIT 8400 BOX 0000
DPO AE 09498-0048

n Do not write the country name where the service member is stationed in the address.

n Include a return address.

n Inside the box, include the service member’s name and address as well as the sender’s name and address on an index card in case the shipping label gets damaged in transit.

Busiest Mailing and Delivery Days

Our busiest time is now 2 weeks before Christmas. Starting the week of December 9, customer traffic is expected to increase. The Postal Service predicts that the week of December 16–22 will be the busiest mailing, shipping, and delivery week for the holidays.

Skip the Trip and Ship Online

The Postal Service anticipates December 16 will be the busiest day online with more than 8.5 million customers predicted to visit for help shipping that special holiday gift. And is always open.

The Click-N-Ship feature ( and other online services allow customers to order free Priority Mail boxes*, print shipping labels, purchase postage, and even request free next-day Package Pickup**.

* Boxes are delivered in the U.S. with regular mail usually within 7 to 10 business days. Exclusions apply. For details and to order, visit

** For details on availability, visit

New Stamped Package Rule

There have been some changes made to how you can ship your packages this year. For safety reasons, as of October 1, the Postal Service will no longer accept stamped packages — which means using individual stamps as postage — that are more than one-half inch thick and/or weighing more than 10 ounces into blue collection boxes, building mail chutes, or Post Office mail slots. This restriction also applies to all other mailpieces, apart from packages, using individual stamps as postage that are more than one-half inch thick and/or weighing more than 10 ounces.

Instead, you must go to a retail counter or use the self-service kiosk to purchase a postage label. If you opt to use the kiosk to buy a postage label, you can drop your package in the package slots, not the mail slots, at a Post Office. If a restricted package or mailpiece is found in a collection box, mail chute, or lobby mail slot after October 1, it will be returned to sender with a Customer Return Label attached explaining the restrictions and reason for return.

Click-N-Ship customers are unaffected by this change.

Other 2019 Updates

n We will offer an expanded package delivery window — delivery in the morning, afternoon, early evening, and on Sundays where volume warrants.

n We have expanded our capacity by adding new equipment:

n 20 automated package bundle sorters with more than 400 additional separations.

n 16 universal sorters.

n 5 package feed systems.

n 6 robust bulk unloading systems.

n 18 automatic tray unsleevers.

n 6 sack shakeout systems.

n 9 bed load/unload systems.

n 40 overhead scanning systems.

Custom Solutions for Sending Holiday Packages

The Postal Service is uniquely qualified to deliver the holidays by offering a variety of custom solutions designed to make sending holiday packages easy:

n Packages that have stamps as postage and are more than one-half inch thick and/or weighing more than 10 ounces must be taken to a retail counter for drop off. Alternatively, customers can use a self-service kiosk for a postage label and drop off the package in a Post Office package slot, not a mail slot.

n Get free Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express boxes and envelopes in Post Offices or online at

n Skip the line and use self-service kiosks located in larger Post Offices to weigh, pay postage, and deposit your packages.

n Use Click-N-Ship online at to create shipping labels with USPS Tracking®, pay postage, or use flat rate shipping products to avoid weighing packages.

n With free Package Pickup, your package can be handed to your mail carrier on his or her regular delivery route or you can schedule a pickup. For details on availability, visit

n Take your packages to the retail counter at any Post Office.

* Boxes are delivered in the U.S. with regular mail usually within 7 to 10 business days. Exclusions apply. For details and to order, visit

Custom Solutions to Help With Receiving Holiday Packages

The Postal Service also offers a variety of custom solutions designed to make receiving holiday packages more convenient:

n Informed Delivery® ( is the free daily digital preview of what is coming to your mailbox. You can see what mail is coming to your mailbox, manage your packages by providing delivery instructions or reschedule delivery online, and see some exterior images of magazines and catalogs — all from your mobile app, dashboard, tablet, or computer.

n Customers can also request the package be held at a Post Office by choosing the Hold for Pickup option in the Informed Delivery app, or online.

n Customers who know they won’t be home when a package is delivered can use USPS Package Intercept® ( Before delivery, most domestic package shipments can be redirected back to the sender, to a new address (a neighbor, perhaps), or to the Post Office to be held for pickup.

Help Customers Avoid a Shipping Glitch

There are a number of things that customers can do to ensure their holiday mail gets delivered safely and correctly:

n Print addresses clearly and include all address elements, such as apartment numbers and directional information (ex., 123 S. Main St., Apt. 2B).

n Remove batteries from toys, if applicable. Wrap and place them next to the toys in the mailing box. Customers should include new batteries in the unopened, original manufacturer’s packaging.

n Place a card inside the package that contains the delivery and return address. This ensures the package can be delivered or returned if the mailing label gets damaged or falls off.

n Never guess a ZIP Code. NO ZIP is better than a WRONG ZIP. Look up a ZIP Code at under Quick Tools.

n Include both “to” and “from” information on packages and only on one side.

n Do NOT reuse mailing boxes — they weaken in the shipping process.

n Select a box that is strong enough to protect the contents. Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express boxes are free at the local Post Office.

n Leave space for extra cushioning inside. Stuff glass and fragile, hollow items, like vases, with newspaper or packing material, to avoid damage. When mailing framed photographs, take the glass out of the frame and wrap it separately.

Postal Posts Blog

This year, the Postal Service is “holiday-ifying” the Postal Posts® Blog ( by offering 14 weeks’ worth of tips, tricks, and advice to make the holidays easier and trouble-free.

Social Media Posts

Consumers can also find more information via our social media pages on Facebook (, Twitter (, Instagram (, Pinterest (, and LinkedIn (

Subscribing to the USPS YouTube Channel ( will help consumers see new tools the Postal Service is offering to help make mailing and shipping easier, “how to” videos (, and more.

2019 Holiday Information

Holiday Advertising Campaign

Our 2019 holiday campaign will feature direct mail, TV, radio, print, digital, and social media promotions highlighting the organization’s proud tradition of delivering cheer and value to consumers and businesses.

The first of several TV spots will begin airing in mid to late November and can be viewed on the Postal Service YouTube channel, USPS TV ( A direct mailpiece with information customers need to know for the holidays will be mailed to more than 100 million homes by Thanksgiving.

Holiday Operating Hours

Post Offices nationwide will be closed on Christmas Day, Wednesday, December 25, and New Year’s Day, Wednesday, January 1, 2020. All Post Offices will be open and regular mail delivery will resume on December 26 and January 2.

Some Post Offices may have extended hours leading up to the holidays, and limited hours on Christmas Eve, Tuesday, December 24, and New Year’s Eve, Tuesday, December 31. Customers should always check with their local Post Offices for hours of operation.

As a reminder, blue collection boxes are not serviced on Sundays.

Holiday Hiring

The Postal Service will be hiring seasonal employees across the country to meet operational needs and the needs of our customers. Hiring decisions are made at a local level. Instead of just hiring seasonally, the Postal Service is focusing its resources on actively hiring year-round.

Employee Tipping

All Postal Service employees, including mail carriers, must comply with the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch. Under these federal regulations, carriers may accept a gift worth $20 or less (this includes store, restaurant, or mall gift cards). However, carriers must never accept cash and cash equivalents, such as checks or gift cards that can be used like credit cards (with Visa, MasterCard, or American Express logos) for any amount.

Carriers and Dogs

The Postal Service asks customers to place their dogs in a separate room before opening the front door to accept packages from carriers. Dogs are protective in nature and may jump through screen doors or squeeze through door openings. Dogs attacked nearly 6,000 carriers last year. We want everyone to go home safely each day.

USPS Operation Santa®

Operation Santa

USPS Operation Santa — Digital Program

This year, the USPS Operation Santa program is 107 years old. The program was established by the Postal Service to help families and children in need at the holidays. This year brings some exciting changes, a new website, an expansion of last year’s digital program, and Santa’s OFFICIAL address:

123 Elf Road
North Pole

The program kicks off November 18 and this year, the digital program has expanded to 15 cities across the country, up from seven in 2018.


Austin, TX

Denver, CO

Philadelphia, PA

Baltimore, MD

Grand Rapids, MI

Phoenix, AZ

Boston, MA

Los Angeles, CA

Sacramento, CA

Chicago, IL

New York, NY

San Juan, PR

Cleveland, OH

Orlando, FL

Washington, DC

In addition to the program upgrades, there is also a new web address for letter adoption: USPSOperation

USPS Operation Santa — Letters to Santa — Legacy Program

Since 1912, Postal Service employees, charities, and individual and corporate volunteers have helped children in need experience the magic of the holidays by adopting their letters to Santa. This year, customers in New York City and Chicago who want to “adopt” letters in person can find the participating locations at

Greetings from the North Pole Post Office – Santa Mail

A letter from Santa can be part of the magic of the season, and customers can help children receive authentic responses from the North Pole. After a child writes to Santa, customers can draft a response to the child on the back and sign it, “From, Santa.” Then, follow the steps in the “Get the North Pole Postmark” section. The child will get his or her original letter back along with Santa’s message from the North Pole!

Get the North Pole Postmark


Show a little extra holiday spirit this year by getting your holiday cards, letters, or gifts postmarked by the North Pole. Here’s how to do it:

1. Personalize your greeting cards as usual.

2. Address the envelopes.

3. Put a holiday stamp on each envelope.

4. Put all of the envelopes in a larger envelope or a Priority Mail box.

5. Put postage on the larger envelope or box.

6. We recommend mailing your cards by December 14 for First-Class Mail; otherwise, use Priority Mail Express and send cards to:

ANCHORAGE AK 99530-9998

Sample Responses for Use When Preparing Written Responses from Santa


Santa Letter - 1


Santa Letter - 2