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Holiday shipping deadlines, changes to know about this year

Posted: 3:42 PM, Nov 01, 2019
Updated: 2019-11-03 12:23:47-05
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TAMPA, Fla. — Halloween is over which means Christmas is coming up in the blink of an eye.

The U.S. Postal Service released mailing deadlines and some shipping changes you need to know so you can get prepared now.

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.

  • Nov. 6 — APO/FPO/DPO (all ZIP codes) USPS Retail Ground Service
  • Dec. 9 — APO/FPO/DPO (ZIP code 093 only) Priority Mail and First-class mail
  • Dec. 11 — APO/FPO/DPO (all other ZIP codes) Priority Mail and First-class mail services
  • 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

Alaska

  • 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

Hawaii

  • 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."