USPS Christmas Deadlines: Mail your gifts and cards by these dates

Published: Oct. 8, 2021 at 1:18 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Black Friday may be more than a month away, but the U.S. Postal Service isn’t wasting any time making sure people know when they have to get their presents in the mail.

Most holiday gift givers have an idea when they need to stop by the post office, but it’s worth double-checking this year with recent Postal Service changes possibly leading to a slowdown in delivery. Similar to previous years, postal workers expect to be busiest for the entire two weeks leading up to Christmas and, this year, expect the peak to come during the week of the Dec. 13-18.

While most deadlines don’t come until the second half of December, the first one – for military and diplomatic recipients is less than a month away. Here is the full list (The USPS notes that the dates are guidelines, not a guarantee):

  • Nov. 6   — APO/FPO/DPO (all ZIP Codes) USPS Retail Ground service
  • Dec. 9   — APO/FPO/DPO (all ZIP Codes) Priority Mail and First-Class Mail
  • 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


  • Dec. 18    — Alaska to/from Continental U.S.– First-Class Mail
  • Dec. 18    — Alaska to/from Continental U.S.– Priority Mail
  • Dec. 21    — Alaska to/from Continental U.S.– Priority Mail Express


  • Dec. 17   — Hawaii to/from mainland--Priority Mail and First-Class Mail
  • Dec. 21   — Hawaii to/from mainland--Priority Mail Express

The Postal Service also reminded customers that they do not need to make a special trip to the post office to drop off their packages and can, instead, ship them from their home by going to It expects to more than 12 million people to visit that website on Dec. 19, its biggest online day.

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