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Holiday Shipping Schedule For U.S. Postal Service

Do you always find that your cards packages get to Grandma and Grandpa a couple of days late? Check out our schedule to get this year's shipping right.

With Potomac residents have easy access to shipping cards and parcels through the U.S. Postal Service.

The Postal Service predicts that Tuesday, Dec. 20, will be the busiest day for mailing letters and packages, while Monday, Dec. 19, will be the busiest day for delivering mail this holiday season.

"The Postal Service will deliver 16.5 billion cards, letters and packages between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve using the largest civilian fleet in the world—215,000 vehicles," including "alternative fuel-capable vehicles," according to the Postal Service.

As usual, holiday stamps come in a wide variety of designs this year, including classic "Madonna and Child" pictures by Italian painters Raphael and Sassoferrato; Kwanzaa, Hanukkah and Eid stamps; an angel-and-lute combo; and, for the less religiously-affiliated, "Holiday Baubles" stamps, as illustrated on the Postal Service website. Stamps are still 44 cents each, and some of these designs are "Forever" stamps, meaning that even when the stamp price goes up, the "Forever" stamps are still valid.

Still, time is of the essence if you're trying to ship things for arrival by Christmas Day:

  • Send first-class mail by Tuesday, Dec. 20, for a pre-Christmas arrival, and parcel posts by Thursday, Dec. 15.
  • If you use Priority Mail, you have until Wednesday, Dec. 21, to mail your holiday packages, according to the Postal Service.
  • Procrastinators can wait as long as Thursday, Dec. 22, but they'll have to ship their holiday gifts by Express Mail, which can be costly.
  • Sending mail to military or diplomatic posts abroad? Better hustle, because Saturday, Dec. 17, is the last day to use the Express Mail Military Service to get packages to their destinations on time.
  • Global Express Guaranteed mail will get packages mailed by Tuesday, Dec. 20, to destinations in Africa, the Caribbean, Central and South America, Europe and the Middle East by Christmas. For Canada and Mexico, you have until Dec. 21.
  • To send Christmas packages to Asia, Australia and New Zealand by Global Express Guaranteed mail, Monday, Dec. 19, is your deadline.

For more holiday mailing tips and deadlines, visit the U.S. Postal Service website.

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