HO-HO-Holiday Shipping Guidelines for 2021

USPS Holiday Season-image

The 2021 Holiday Shipping dates have been released. The USPS no longer has Parcel Airlift Mail (PAL) and Space Available Mail (SAM) services available. I would advise that you ship out packages as early as possible as this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, as people will do less traveling for the holidays. This means more packages will be in the mail stream. The dates to ship out packages to Military Bases is listed below.

Holiday Shipping Dates for Military Mail:


To place an order for the kits, call 800-610-8734. Guidelines for packing, addressing and shipping items to U.S. troops can be found at store.usps.com/store/product/shipping-supplies/military-care-kit-P_MILITARYKIT.

To order flat-rate boxes featuring the "America Supports You" logo, go to usps.com/freeboxes.

When addressing the package, be sure to write the service member’s full name. Include the unit and APO/FPO/DPO address with the 9-digit zip code. A 9-digit zip code might not be assigned. Below are some examples of how to address the package:

Army/Air Post Office (APO)
PSC 3 BOX 4120
APO AE 09021

Fleet Post Office (FPO)
UNIT 100100 BOX 4120
FPO AP 96691

Diplomatic Post Office (DPO)
UNIT 8400 BOX 0000
DPO AE 09498-0048

Do not write the country name where the service member is stationed in the address. Include a return address on the package. It is also a good idea to place an index card in the package with both the service members name and address along with the sender’s name and address in case the shipping label becomes damaged in transit. A website with additional information on sending packages to service members is https://www.usps.com/ship/apo-fpo-dpo.htm?#regulations.

2021 Holiday Shipping Dates for Contiguous U.S. (Lower 48 States):

Recommended send-by dates for expected delivery before December 25th are:

  • USPS Retail Ground Service – December 15th
  • First-Class Mail Service – December 17th
  • Priority Mail Service – December 18th
  • Priority Mail Express Service – December 23rd

Holiday Shipping Dates for Alaska and Hawaii:

  • USPS Retail Ground Service – December 2nd for Alaska (Hawaii does not receive this service)
  • First-Class Mail Service – December 18th for Alaska and December 17th for Hawaii
  • Priority Mail Service – December 18th for Alaska and December 17th for Hawaii
  • Priority Mail Express Service – December 21st for both Alaska and Hawaii

The best advice I can provide is to mail as early as possible to ensure letters and packages arrive before the holidays. I would like to take a moment to wish everyone a SAFE and happy holiday season.

Happy Mailing,

About the author

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Rob Hanks

Rob Hanks

Rob Hanks is a inside sales representative at Suttle-Straus and has more than 25 years of experience in direct mail. Rob is a Certified Direct Mail Professional and a Certified Mailpiece Design Professional though the United States Postal Service and serves as the Industry Co-Chairperson for the Greater Madison Area Postal Customer Council. Rob enjoys the challenges of mailpiece design within postal regulations and helping clients save on postage costs.
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Topics: Direct Mail