'Tis the season for sending cards, letters, and packages in the mail!  As we get closer to to Thanksgiving and Christmas, many people start to get busy sending items in the mail to friends and relatives.  And whether you're sending them across the country or across the street, you'll need to be aware of the United States Postal Services' Holiday Shipping Deadlines.

The deadlines are established to combat the onslaught of heavy mail volume that tends to happen each year around this time.  Simply put - if you want your mail to arrive in time for the Christmas holiday, you'll need to follow the USPS's guidelines and dates to ensure timely delivery.

Here is the deadline list for the December 25 Christmas Holiday in 2018:

  • Nov. 6      – APO/FPO/DPO (all ZIP Codes) USPS Retail Ground®
  • Dec. 4      – APO/FPO/DPO (ZIP Code 093 only) Priority Mail® and First-Class Mail®
  • Dec. 11    – APO/FPO/DPO (all other ZIP Codes) Priority Mail and First-Class Mail
  • Dec. 14    – USPS Retail Ground
  • Dec. 18    – APO/FPO/DPO (except ZIP Code 093) USPS Priority Mail Express®
  • Dec. 20    – First-Class Mail (including greeting cards)
  • Dec. 20    – First-class packages (up to 15.99 ounces)
  • Dec. 20   –  Hawaii to mainland Priority Mail and First-Class Mail
  • Dec. 20    – Priority Mail
  • Dec. 20    – Alaska to mainland Priority Mail and First-Class Mail
  • Dec. 22    – Alaska to mainland Priority Mail Express
  • Dec. 22    – Hawaii to mainland Priority Mail Express
  • Dec. 22    – Priority Mail Express

The Postal Service also offers advice to avoid what it calls the "busiest time" - which replaces the old "busiest day" incarnation; according to estimates for this year, they suggest that the two weeks leading up to Christmas will be the "busiest time" for mail deliveries - a time period that starts on December 10.

New this year is something called USPS Informed Delivery; customers can actually see images of what's timed to arrive in their mailbox that day.