US Postal Service announces holiday shipping deadlines: How to make sure packages arrive before Christmas

The United States Postal Service has announced vacation deadlines that must be followed to ensure Christmas packages arrive on time.

The USPS recommends sending Christmas cards and gifts for Christmas before December 15 using the USPS Retail Ground Service if packages are to be delivered before December 25, according to the USPS website.

(REUTERS / Rebecca Cook / File photo)

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First-class mail must be sent no later than 17 December, priority mail no later than 18 December and priority postal express service no later than 23 December to ensure timely Christmas delivery.

These dates vary for those living in Hawaii and Alaska, and the USPS also set recommended shipping dates for those sending packages abroad or to the military.

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Shonda Lemon, 34, works at her job as a USPS postman in Chicago (Photo courtesy of Shonda Lemon / Fox Television Stations)

Shonda Lemon, 34, works at her job as a USPS postman in Chicago (Photo courtesy of Shonda Lemon / Fox Television Stations)

Children who send wish lists to Santa must have them in the mail by December 10, no matter where they send them to the United States.

“The earlier you send, the better: do not delay, send and send today,” says the postal service.

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The USPS says the busiest time of the holiday shipping season begins two weeks before Christmas, and the week of 13-18. December is expected to be the busiest in the mail season.

Shipping within a deadline does not guarantee packages arrive on time, the USPS said, unless otherwise stated.

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