Christmas shipping deadlines for the U.S. Postal Service are approaching fast.
Mail holiday gifts by Dec. 14 (that's Friday!) for parcel post delivery by Christmas, and cards by Dec. 21, the post office's blog recommends.
If you miss those deadlines, don't worry. There's still time to get your holiday parcels to their destinations by Dec. 25, though you will have to pay a little more. Here are the absolute-last-day deadlines to keep in mind, according to the U.S. Postal Service's holiday calendar:
- Dec. 14: Last day to ship via Parcel Post for delivery by Christmas.
- Dec. 17: Last day to ship to military for delivery by Christmas.
- Dec. 19: Last day for most international shipping for delivery by Christmas.
- Dec. 20: Last day to send First-Class Mail for delivery by Christmas.
- Dec. 21: Last day to send Priority Mail for delivery by Christmas.
- Dec. 22: Last day to send most Express Mail for delivery by Christmas.
One more date to keep in mind is Monday, Dec. 18: Traditionally, the post office's "busiest day is ... the Monday before Christmas as people mail cards and packages they prepared over the weekend," The Huffington Post reported last year.
A good way to cut down on time spent waiting in line is to order your holiday stamps or print shipping labels through the post office's website. You can even schedule a Postal Service pick-up of your holiday gifts, so you never have to go to the Post Office.
This year's holiday stamps offer something for everyone: a fun "Santa and Sleigh" assortment, a "Holiday Baubles" assortment, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa stamps, a depiction of a Madonna-and-child painting by Raphael and a "Holy Family" stamp. All of these holiday stamps are "Forever" stamps, meaning that they will be valid forever—even after increases in the price of stamps.
In Napa County, the stamps are sold at CVS, Safeway and Walmart as well as at the main post office on Trancas Street, the historic post office downtown.
The Trancas post office has added Saturday service hours for Christmas and the automated parcel and stamp machine in the lobby is accessible 24/7.
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