Holiday season’s shipping deadlines

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RBC | To ensure that friends and family serving in the military overseas receive their care packages from home on time, mailers are reminded to ship their holiday gifts no later than Dec. 9 for the best rates.
For other international destinations, it’s best to have your mail on its way by Dec. 10.
There are expedited services offered with later deadlines.
Military Deadlines
(*most destinations)
Dec. 7 Retail Ground
Dec. 9 Priority Mail Packages
Dec. 9 First Class Cards and Letter
Dec. 16 Priority Mail Express Military Service
International Deadlines
(*most destinations)
Priority Mail International Dec. 10
Express International Dec. 15
Global Express Guaranteed Dec. 21
Some countries have restrictions on what you can send, so it’s always safe to check with your local Post Office or go to
Domestic Deadlines
Dec. 15 USPS Retail Ground
Dec. 20 First Class Cards and Letters
Dec. 21 Priority Mail Packages
Dec. 23 Express Service
Free Military Boxes and Supplies
To send packages to loved ones serving in the military abroad, the Postal Service offers a discounted price of $16.75 on its largest Priority Mail Flat Rate Box. The price includes a $2 per box discount for mail sent to APO/FPO/DPO (Air/Army Post Office/Fleet Post Office/Diplomatic Post Office) destinations worldwide.
The Postal Service has created a free Military Care Kit based on the items most frequently requested by military families. The kit contains address labels, tape, boxes, and customs forms.
To order the kit, call 800-610-8734. Select “supplies.”
Guidelines for packing, addressing and shipping items to U.S. troops can be found at
Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes are available at no cost at local Post Offices™ and online at Postage, labels, and customs forms can be printed online anytime using Click-N-Ship® at
While you are at, you can also print your shipping labels, pay for postage, and call for your letter carrier to pick up your Priority or Priority Express items at your home or business for free (where available).
Mail Preparation Tips
n Use good strong boxes and good strong packing tape. No duct tape or masking tape. No string or wire. No shoeboxes.
n Don’t use boxes from a liquor store. Boxes that indicate that there is alcohol inside cannot be mailed.
n Don’t ship anything with a lithium battery.
n Always include a return address on the parcel, and include destination/return address on a card inside the parcel (in case the address on the parcel is rendered unreadable).
n Never use holiday wrapping paper around your parcel. It is very thin and isn’t suitable in the high speed sorting machines.