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Postal Shipping, Mailing Deadlines for 2012 Holiday Packages

The United States Postal Service offers tips and suggestions so holiday packages arrive in time for the holidays.

Are you one of the many holiday revelers with families and friends spread all over the country and the world?

If so, even before you dive into that gift list, it's important to know how early must you buy, wrap and post holiday gifts so they get to their destination in time for the holidays.

“The holiday season is the busiest time of year for the postal service but we are prepared to deliver,” Atlanta District Manager Salvatore Vacca said in a press release.

During this holiday season, the postal service also expects:

  • 560 million pieces of mail on average to be processed every day.
  • 29.5 million pounds of mail to be delivered to overseas military installations, including Iraq and war zones in Afghanistan.
  • 2.5 billion holiday stamps will be printed.

Here are some suggestions and mailing deadline dates from the United States Postal Service (USPS) to ensure your gifts are delivered on time and in one piece:

  • Confirm addresses. Print addresses clearly and in all CAPS and be sure to include all address elements — apartment numbers, suite numbers and directional information for streets. For example: 123 S Main St. or 12456 Elm St. N. Include both “to” and “from” information on packages — and only on one side. Never guess a ZIP code. Visit usps.com to find all ZIP codes.
  • Choose the Right Box. Select a box that is strong enough to protect the contents. Leave space for cushioning inside. Do not reuse mailing boxes — they weaken in the shipping process. Customers can purchase ReadyPost boxes at a local Post Office or at the Postal Store on usps.com. Express Mail and Priority Mail boxes, envelopes and tubes are free.
  • Pack Delicately. Cushion contents with shredded or rolled newspaper, bubble wrap or foam peanuts. Plain air-popped popcorn also is good for cushioning — it’s inexpensive and environmentally friendly. Pack contents tightly to avoid shifting during transit. Use pressure-sensitive tape, nylon-reinforced craft paper tape or glass-reinforced pressure-sensitive tape for shipping. Do not use wrapping paper, string, masking tape, duct tape or cellophane tape.

USPS recommends the following mail-by dates to ensure on time arrival:

Dec.  3 —  Priority Mail International

Dec. 10 — Priority Mail Military

Dec. 11 — Express Mail International

Dec. 14 — Parcel Post

Dec. 17 — Global Express Guaranteed

Dec. 20 --- First-Class Mail

Dec. 21 --- Priority Mail

Dec. 22 --- Express Mail

Click here for send-by dates for military mail.

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