Mailing presents this year? Follow the Post Office’s holiday mailing deadlines to get them there in time for Christmas

VANCOUVER — Planning to send your holiday packages through the United States Postal Service (USPS) this year? Make sure you make the mailing deadlines to get your presents there by Christmas.

The USPS holiday mailing deadlines are as follows:

  • Thu., Dec. 15 for USPS Retail Ground (formerly known as “standard post”). This shipping option takes two to eight business days to arrive and prices start at $6.75.
  • Tue., Dec. 20 for First-Class Mail®, which ships in one to three business days and is available for standard-sized, single-piece envelopes weighing up to 3.5 ounces, as well as large envelopes and packages weighing up to 13 ounces, with prices starting at 47 cents.
  • Wed., Dec. 21 for Priority Mail®, which typically ships in one to three business days, depending on where the package is going. Prices for this shipping option begin at $6.45.
  • Fri., Dec. 23 for Priority Mail Express®. The priciest option, this is the one you use when you’ve procrastinated just a little too long and need your package to get there as fast as possible. With limited exceptions, this shipping option gets your package there with overnight delivery to most addresses within the U.S., including post office (PO) boxes. Prices begin at $22.95 for this option.
Holiday mailing deadline for standard ground shipping is Thu., Dec. 15
Lines inside the United State Post Office at 304 S.E. Hearthwood Blvd., Vancouver, were crowded but moving pretty quickly on Wed., Dec. 14, one day before the recommended ‘mail by’ date for shipping holiday packages by ground delivery. Photo by Kelly Moyers

On Wed., Dec. 14, just a few hours before snow started falling in the Vancouver/Portland metro areas, the USPS at 304 S.E. Hearthwood Blvd.,  in east Vancouver, was hopping with customers trying to get their packages and letters out ahead of the holiday rush and the possibility of a snowstorm.

Mike Gamby, of Vancouver, said he drove to the post office first thing Wednesday morning, thinking that he might avoid the crowds, but that the Hearthwood Boulevard location was already packed.

“I think everyone had the same idea,” Gamby said. “But they’re keeping it moving in there. It’s not too bad. I had four packages to send and it only took me maybe 10 minutes. They’re moving people through.”

Outside, customers lined up at the outdoor drop boxes to send letters and, possibly, holiday cards. Barry Johnson, of downtown Vancouver, pulled into the post office parking lot, headed straight to the drive-up mailboxes and was done in under a minute.

Post Office locations are keeping slightly different holiday hours this year, since Christmas Day and New Year’s Day both fall on Sundays. According to USPS, locations that are typically open on Saturdays will still be open on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, this year, but many may close at noon and/or shorten their lobby hours.

Holiday mailing deadline for standard ground shipping is Thu., Dec. 15
Post Office locations are keeping slightly different holiday hours this year, since Christmas Day and New Year’s Day both fall on Sundays. To find hours and ‘mail-by’ dates for your closest post office, visit the United States Post Office site at Photo by Kelly Moyer

Mail carriers will still deliver mail on their regular schedule on Sat., Dec. 24, but the USPS is observing the Christmas holiday on Mon., Dec. 26, so post offices will be closed that day and there will be no mail delivery.

Blue USPS mailboxes with collection times before noon on Saturdays will not be affected by the holiday hours, but those with collection times after noon may have an earlier pick-up time on Sat., Dec. 24. USPS recommends putting your mail into a blue mailbox before noon on Christmas Eve to insure pick-up.

Likewise, because the New Year holiday falls on a Sunday this year, USPS will close the following day, on Mon., Jan. 2. Mail delivery, as well as USPS locations will keep regular hours on New Year’s Eve, Sat., Dec. 31.

To find hours and holiday updates for your local post office location, click here.


About The Author

Kelly Moyer has been reporting for community newspapers since the mid-1990s, including the Newport News-Times on the Oregon Coast; the Lewistown Sentinel, a daily newspaper in central Pennsylvania; the Gresham Outlook, Wilsonville Spokesman, Sherwood Gazette and South County Spotlight newspapers in the Portland metro area; and The Reflector newspaper in Battle Ground, Wash. She also is the former managing editor of Midwifery Today, an international magazine for birth professionals. Kelly, a University of Oregon alumnus and Pennsylvania native, lives with her family in Northeast Portland.

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