Get Holiday Letters and Packages in the Mail

Christmas cards, packages and gift returns—it's all about the timing of the mail during the holidays. Whether you're mailing to Africa, Santa Claus or someone in the military, you'd better get it stamped and sent on time.

Letters to Santa, gift orders and Christmas cards. They all depend on the mail, and timing, to make the holidays grand.

Here are some things to know about the Post Office this holiday season.

Known as the "official shipper of the holidays," the released suggested mail-by dates to ensure packages, cards and letters reach their intended destinations on time for the holiday.

For Domestic Mail:

First-Class: Dec. 20
Priority Mail: Dec. 21
Express Mail: Dec. 22
Parcel Post: Dec. 15
DNDC Drop Ship: Dec. 19
DDU Drop Ship: Dec. 22

For International Mail:

Global Express Guaranteed: Dec. 19 for Asia/Pacific Rim, Australia/New Zealand; Dec. 20 for Africa, Central and South America, Caribbean, Europe, Middle East; Dec. 21 for Canada and Mexico.

Express Mail: Dec. 10 for Africa, Central and South America; Dec. 15 for Asia/Pacific Rim, Australia/New Zealand, Caribbean, Mexico, Europe, Middle East; Dec. 16 for Canada

Priority Mail: Dec. 2 for Africa and Central and South America; Dec. 9 for Asia/Pacific Rim, Australia/New Zealand, Mexico; Dec. 12 for Canada, Caribbean, Europe, Middle East 

First-Class Mail: Dec. 2 for Africa, Central and South America; Dec. 9 for Asia/Pacific Rim, Australia/New Zealand; Canada, Caribbean, Mexico, Europe, Middle East

Military Mail:

Express Mail Military Service 1: All mail should be shipped by Dec. 17

First-Class Mail Letters and Cards and Priority Mail: Dec. 3 for APO/FPO ZIP 093; all other addresses by Dec. 10

Parcel Airlift Mail 2: Dec. 1 for APO/FPO AE ZIP 093; all other addresses mail by Dec. 3

Parcel Post: All mail should have been sent by Nov. 12

"We suggest using the Postal Service's Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes for sending all your military packages overseas this holiday season," said Giselle Valera, vice president and managing director of Global Business. "There's no shipping service that's a better value, more rliable, or easier to use than the Flat Rate program."

Mailing kits can be ordered by calling 800-610-8734 or going to "Click-N-Ship" on www.usps.gov. 

Letters for Santa Claus must be received by Dec. 10. To receive a special holiday postmark, customers should affix the correct postage to addressed envelopes and cards; then pack them in a larger envelope, box, Priority Mail or Express Mail package and them to: North Pole Holiday Cancellation, Postmaster, 4141 Postmark Dr., Anchorage, AK 99530-9998

Hours for the : 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays-Fridays; 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays; closed Sundays


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