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USPS says to send your gifts by this date to make sure they arrive on time for Christmas

You don’t want to wait until last minute to get your holiday gifts shipped out.

Image: Unsplash

The holidays are quickly approaching, and you’ll want to make sure that you get all of your long-distance gifts mailed out on time. Luckily, the United States Postal Service (USPS) has released guidelines to help you make sure you get all of your gifts sent out on time.

The guidelines published earlier this month give a full breakdown of what we can expect from the USPS this year.

Depending on where you need to send a package, the USPS guidelines give a deadline showing the latest possible date that you can send a package and still have it arrive on time this holiday season.

For those shipping gifts in the contiguous United States (excluding Alaska and Hawaii), you’ve got a bit of a cushion. Using basic USPS ground shipping, you should send packages by December 15 to ensure they arrive on time. If you miss that deadline, there are a few other options.

USPS offers a few express shipping options

usps shipping dates
Image: USPS

The First-Class Mail option gives you a couple of extra days, bringing the deadline to December 17. Priority Mail is one more step up and you’ll have until the 18th to mail those out.

The last option is Priority Mail Express, and you can send packages as late as December 23 and they’ll still arrive on time, but it would probably be better to do it sooner rather than later.

Shipping things to Alaska and Hawaii is a different story. Using Retail Ground shipping to Alaska, you’ll want to ship out your packages by December 2. USPS Retail Ground isn’t available to Hawaii, so you’ll have to use one of the other options.

First-Class and Priority Mail options are basically the same as the contiguous U.S., but Priority Mail Express is a bit slower to these states. You’ll want to send Priority Mail Express packages out by December 21 if they’re going to Alaska and Hawaii.

These deadlines should help you plan out your holiday shipping schedule, but it doesn’t hurt to plan ahead. Just because you have until the 15th to ship that package across the country for the holidays doesn’t mean you should wait until then. Whenever possible, it’s a good idea to get packages shipped out as early as possible.

The USPS has completed a lot of preparation for this holiday season. The service has added around 40,000 seasonal workers to help ship your holiday packages this year.

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