The U.S. Postal Service has announced the holiday mailing deadlines for the expected delivery of cards and gifts.

The Postal Service recommends the following mailing and shipping deadlines for expected delivery by Dec. 25 to Air/Army Post Office/Fleet Post Office/Diplomatic Post Office and domestic addresses: 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; and Dec. 23, Priority Mail Express service

Dates are for estimated delivery before Dec. 25. Actual delivery date may vary depending on origin, destination, Post Office acceptance date and time and other conditions. Some restrictions apply.

For Priority Mail Express shipments mailed Dec. 21-25, the money-back guarantee applies only if the shipment was not delivered, or delivery was not attempted, within two business days.

Beginning the week of Dec. 9, customer traffic is expected to increase, with the week of Dec. 16-22 predicted to be the busiest mailing, shipping, and delivery week.

Consumers don't even have to leave home to ship their packages. They can visit usps.com. The Postal Service anticipates Dec. 16 will be the Postal Service's busiest day online with more than 8.5 million consumers predicted to visit usps.com for help shipping that special holiday gift.

It's estimated nearly 400,000 consumers will use the Click-N-Ship feature and other online services on Dec. 16 to order free Priority Mail boxes, print shipping labels, purchase postage and even request free next-day Package Pickup.

Some changes have been made this year as to how people can ship your packages. For safety reasons, as of Oct. 1, customers can no longer drop off stamped packages - which means using individual stamps as postage - that are more than one-half inch thick and-or weighing more than 10 ounces into blue collection boxes, building mail chutes, or Post Office mail slots. Instead, they must go to a retail counter or use the self-service kiosk to purchase a postage label. If they opt to use the SSK to buy a postage label, they can drop off the package in the package slot, not the mail slot, at a Post Office. 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 to sender will have a Customer Return Label attached explaining the restrictions and reason for return.

Additional news and information, including all domestic, international and military mailing and shipping deadlines, can be found at the Postal Service Holiday Newsroom: usps.com/holidaynews.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

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