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Holiday shipping deadlines, changes to know about this year

Posted at 12:30 AM, Dec 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-12 06:11:41-05

TAMPA, Fla. — Christmas is just weeks away, but if you're still shopping make sure you know these deadlines.

The Postal Service recommends the following mailing and shipping deadlines for expected delivery by Christmas to Air/Army Post Office/Fleet Post Office/Diplomatic Post Office and domestic addresses.

  • Dec. 14 — USPS Retail Ground Service
  • Dec. 18 — APO/FPO/DPO (except ZIP code 093) USPS Priority Mail Express Service
  • Dec. 20 — First-class mail service (including greeting cards)
  • Dec. 20 — First-class packages (up to 15.99 ounces)
  • Dec. 21 — Priority mail service
  • Dec. 21 — Priority mail epxress service


  • Dec. 18 — Alaska to mainland first-class mail service
  • Dec. 19 — Alaska to mainland priority mail service
  • Dec. 21 — Alaska to mainland priority mail express service


  • Dec. 19 — Hawaii to mainland priority mail and first-class mail services
  • Dec, 21 — Hawaii to mainland priority mail express service

The Postal Service says, for safety reasons, this year you can no longer drop off stamped packages that are more than one-half inch thick and/or that weigh more than 10 ounces into the blue collection boxes, building mail chutes or Post Office mail slots. That means packages that use individual stamps as postage.

Instead, USPS says you must go to a retail counter or use the self-service kiosk (SSK) to purchase a postage label.

"If you opt to use the SSK, to buy a postage label, you can drop off your package in the package slot, not the mail slot, at a Post Office," USPS said. "If a restricted package is found in a collection box, mail chute or lobby mail slot it will be returned to sender. Mail that is returned will have a Customer Return Label attached explaining the restrictions and reason for return."

Amazon has also released a deadline for Christmas shopping, with Prime members able to shop all the way up until Christmas Eve.

Here are the complete Amazon deadlines:

  • Dec. 14 — Last day to order and get free delivery on orders over $25, free for all customers
  • Dec. 18 — Last day to order items eligible for Standard Shipping, free for Prime members
  • Dec. 22 — Last day to order tens of millions of items, free for Prime members
  • Dec. 23 — Last day to order more than 10 million items eligible for One-Day Delivery (coast to coast, free for Prime members with no minimum purchase)
  • Dec. 24 — Last day to order millions of items eligible for Same-Day Delivery (free for Prime members in eligible areas on orders over $35, order by 9:30 a.m. local time)
  • Dec. 24 — Last chance for free two-hour grocery delivery, reserved exclusively for Prime members in select cities. Order by 5 p.m. local time (3 p.m. in select locations) for Whole Foods Market and 8 p.m. local time for Amazon Fresh
  • Dec. 24 — Whole Foods Market stores, Amazon Books, and Amazon 4-star stores are open Christmas Eve (store hours vary by location)
  • Dec. 25 — Give the gift that keeps on giving with online purchases of Amazon Gift Cards and Amazon Prime