BISMARCK — Given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is expected that more holiday gifts and greetings will be sent through the mail than ever before, according to a press release from the United States Postal Service.

Per the release:

Sunday delivery will be expanded beginning Nov. 29 to locations with high package volumes. USPS already delivers packages on Sundays in most major cities. Mail carriers will also deliver packages on Christmas Day for an additional fee in select locations.

The busiest time of the season peaks two weeks before Christmas. Customer traffic is expected to increase beginning Dec. 7, with the week of Dec. 14-21 predicted to be the busiest mailing, shipping and delivery week.

Consumers are able to ship packages without leaving home by visiting usps.com or using the Click-N-Ship feature for help shipping holiday gifts, ordering free Priority Mail boxes, printing shipping labels, purchasing postage and requesting free next-day package pickup.

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The USPS 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. 15: USPS Retail Ground Service.
  • Dec. 18: APO/FPO/DPO (except ZIP code 093) USPS priority mail express service.
  • Dec. 18: First-class mail service (excluding greeting cards).
  • Dec. 18: Priority mail service (up to 15.99 ounces).
  • Dec. 19: Priority mail service.
  • Dec. 23: Priority mail express service.

Regarding Alaska:

  • Dec. 18: Alaska to/from continental U.S. first-class mail.
  • Dec. 19: Alaska to/from continental U.S. priority mail.
  • Dec. 21: Alaska to/from continental U.S. priority mail express.

Regarding Hawaii:

  • Dec. 15: Hawaii to/from mainland priority mail and first-class mail.
  • Dec. 21: Hawaii to/from mainland priority mail express.

Additional tools and tips for having a successful holiday mailing and shipping season:

  • Priority mail flat rate boxes are available at usps.com/freeboxes.
  • One can create labels and pay for postage online at usps.com/ship.
  • Schedule a free package pickup when the carrier delivers your mail. It’s free regardless of the number of packages. Pickups can be scheduled at usps.com/pickup.
  • Mail and packages that weigh more than 10 ounces or are more than a half-inch thick and using stamps as postage cannot be dropped into a collection box or left for a carrier to pick up. Instead, consumers are instructed to take them to their local post office.

For more information, visit usps.com/holidaynews.