Holiday Season 2020

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 Stamp Banner



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 Holiday stamps from previous years are also available. New stamps this year include:

n Winter Scenes.

n Holiday Delights.

n Hanukkah.

n Kwanzaa.

n Our Lady of Guápulo.

Self-Service Kiosks

Post Office™ lobbies can be very busy during the holiday season. So, skip the line and go directly to a fully-automated, self-service kiosk with touch-screen. Typically placed in Post Office lobbies to provide customers with a convenient alternative to the full-service counter, Post Office kiosks offer customers a wide range of services:

n Choose a faster or most affordable shipping option.

n Weigh letters, flats, and parcels up to 70 pounds.

n Purchase variable-rate postage in any denomination for Priority Mail Express®, Priority Mail®, First-Class Mail®, and USPS Retail Ground® services.

n Purchase USPS Delivery Confirmation®, Signature Confirmation™, Insurance, Certified Mail®, and Return Receipt After Mailing™ services.

n Print Priority Mail Express forms.

n Look up a ZIP Code™.

n Purchase stamps.

n Renew your PO Box™.

n Pay with a debit, credit, or EBT card.

n Print a receipt with the USPS Tracking® number.

2020 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 following table 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. 15

First-Class Mail® (including greeting cards)

Dec. 18

First-Class Packages (up to 15.99 ounces)

Dec. 18

Priority Mail®

Dec. 19

Priority Mail Express®*

Dec. 23

Alaska to the Continental U.S. First-Class Mail

Dec. 18

Alaska to the Continental U.S. Priority Mail

Dec. 19

Alaska to the Continental U.S. Priority Mail Express

Dec. 21

Hawaii to Mainland Priority Mail & First-Class Mail

Dec. 15

Hawaii to Mainland Priority Mail Express

Dec. 21

* Not a guarantee, unless otherwise Alaska to the Continental U.S. 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. For Priority Mail Express shipments mailed December 22 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. 17

Dec. 14

Dec. 7

Dec. 7


Dec. 22

Dec. 14

Dec. 7

Dec. 7


Dec. 22

Dec. 14

Dec. 7

Dec. 7

Central and South America

Dec. 17

Dec. 7

Nov. 30

Nov. 30


Dec. 22

Dec. 14

Dec. 7

Dec. 7


Dec. 17

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 $19.60 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, 2020, 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. 9

Dec. 9

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 7, customer traffic is expected to increase. The Postal Service predicts that the week of December 14–21 will be the busiest mailing, shipping, and delivery week for the holidays.

Skip the Trip and Ship Online

The Postal Service anticipates December 14 will be the busiest day online with more than 13 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 This Year

The Postal Service will offer an expanded package delivery window — delivery in the morning, afternoon, early evening, and Sundays, where volume warrants.

We have also expanded operational capacity with new equipment:

n 1 Small Parcel Sort System (SPSS).

n 20 Automated Delivery Unit Sorters (ADUS).

n 13 Universal Sorters (USS).

n 14 High Speed Universal Sorter (HSUS).

n 1 High Distribution Universal Sorter (HDUS).

n Robust Bulk Unloading Systems (RBUS).

Retail Gifts

Whether customers forget to add someone to their holiday lists or need to find a gift for that special someone, the Postal Service has them covered. In select Post Offices, customers can buy greeting cards, gift cards, and postage, and mail their gifts all in one place.

Find the perfect gift online at and at retail locations to make gift giving easy this season. Use our online locator at to find your local Post Office.

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 at

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 Don’t send materials that are prohibited, such as fireworks or ammunition. Hazardous materials like perfumes, aerosols, or lithium batteries are mailable with restrictions. For more information, visit

n Items powered by dry-cell batteries may sometimes turn on during handling and emit a light, buzz, beep, or tick. Please ensure the device is powered off or package batteries separately (preferably in the original manufacturer’s packaging). Specific packaging requirements apply to lithium batteries. See Publication 52, Hazardous, Restricted and Perishable Mail (

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.


5 Ways to Protect Mail and Packages: 1) Don't leave packages unattended for any length of time. 2) Use Hold for Pickup option at if you won't be home.. 3) Use the USPSW Hold Mail services if you are leaving town. 4) Customize delivery by using and your USPS tracking Number. 5) Use USPS special services like Signature Confirmation or Registered Mail.

Postal Posts Blog

The Postal Service is “holiday-ifying” the Postal Posts® blog ( by offering new content every Monday from October 5 to December 28. That’s 13 weeks’ worth of tips, tricks, and advice to make the holidays easier and trouble-free.

Social Media Posts

Consumers can also find more information and interact with us 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.

2020 Holiday Information

Holiday Advertising Campaign

Our 2020 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 began airing in 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 locations nationwide will be closed on Christmas Day, Friday, December 25, and New Year’s Day, Friday, January 1, 2021. All Post Office locations will be open and regular mail delivery will resume on December 26, 2020, and January 2, 2021.

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

Blue collection boxes with final collection times before 12 pm (noon) will not be affected by an early closing on December 24. If a box has a final collection time after 12 pm, the mail may be picked up earlier. For mail pick-up on December 24, please put your mail into blue collection boxes by noon regardless of the final collection times posted on the box.

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

Holiday Newsroom

Customers can find news releases, shipping deadlines, fact sheets, how-to videos, and much more by visiting the holiday newsroom at

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 have been known to jump through screen doors and squeeze through door openings. More than 5,800 carriers were attacked by dogs last year. We want everyone to get home safely each day.

National Postmark

Happy Holidays Banner

All First-Class Mail® postage stamps will be postmarked with this image from November 28, 2020, through January 1, 2021.

USPS Operation Santa

Holiday Stamp Banner

For the first time ever in its 108-year history, the USPS Operation Santa® program will happen nationwide. Originally, the program was established by the Postal Service to help families and children in need during the holidays. To participate in USPS Operation Santa, just write a letter, put it in a stamped envelope with your return address, and send it to Santa’s official workshop address:


Letters will be accepted from November 16 through December 15, 2020.

Letter adoption begins December 4 at Potential adopters can read the letters and pick one or more wishes that they would like to fulfill. For security reasons, potential adopters must be vetted through a short registration and ID verification process before they are allowed to adopt a letter.

Greetings from the North Pole Post Office – Santa Mail

North Pole Banner

Greetings from the North Pole Post Office is a program for customers to help children receive authentic responses from the North Pole. Follow these steps to get a North Pole Postmark on your child’s letter to Santa:

n Have your child write a letter to Santa and place it in an envelope addressed to: SANTA, NORTH POLE.

n Later, when alone, open the envelope and write a personalized response.

n Insert the response letter into an envelope and address it to the child.

n Add the return address to the envelope: SANTA, NORTH POLE.

n Affix a First-Class Mail® stamp to the envelope.

n Place the complete envelope into a larger envelope — preferably a Priority Mail Flat Rate envelope — with the appropriate postage and address it to:

ANCHORAGE AK 99530-9998

The recommended mail-by date is December 7 for receiving a response before December 25. The Anchorage postmaster must receive the envelope no later than December 14. Santa’s helpers in Anchorage, AK, will take care of the rest!

Get the North Pole Postmark for Yourself

The North Pole Postmark isn’t limited to children. Follow these steps to get a North Pole Postmark on your holiday greetings:

n Personalize your greeting cards as usual.

n Address the envelopes.

n Put a holiday stamp on each envelope.

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

n Put postage on the larger envelope or box.

The recommended mail-by date is December 7 for receiving a response before December 25. Otherwise, use Priority Mail Express and send your cards to:

ANCHORAGE AK 99530-9998

Sample Responses for Use When Preparing Written Responses from Santa


Santa Letter 1 Sample

Santa Letter 2 Sample