One of the most important holidays for the USPS is Christmas.
With the influx of packages and cards, mail carriers must work extra hard to get everything delivered.
Because they’re so busy, you may wonder if they’re able to deliver packages on Christmas Eve.
If you have a present that has yet to arrive, knowing whether the USPS delivers on Christmas Eve can help you decide if you need to come up with a contingency plan.
Follow this guide to find out if you can expect a package on Christmas Eve and when you should send out packages to ensure they arrive by Christmas.
Does The USPS Deliver On Christmas Eve?
Yes, the USPS does deliver on Christmas Eve.
The only time the USPS will not deliver on Christmas Eve is if Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday.
That’s because the USPS doesn’t operate on Sundays.
Outside of Sundays, you can expect your mail to arrive as usual on Christmas Eve.
That said, some postal offices may have shortened or extended hours on Christmas Eve.
If the office isn’t particularly busy, then they might have shortened hours.
This allows the postal workers to go home and spend the evening with their families.
If the office has a lot of work to do still, however, then they might implement extended hours to ensure as many packages as possible can be delivered.
As always, you’ll want to check with your local post office to see what their operating hours are for Christmas Eve.
Otherwise, you can expect to get mail.
When Should You Send Out Your Packages To Make Sure They Arrive On Christmas?
One of the hardest parts about buying gifts is buying them early enough so that their recipients receive them on time.
If you send the package out too late, then there’s a chance that it won’t arrive at its destination in time.
If you send the package too early, then the individual has to hold onto it until they are permitted to open it.
That might become a problem if you are sending a gift to someone who has nosy children with a tendency to get into their presents early.
The USPS tries to make things easier by offering a schedule.
As long as you send the package out before the listed date, it should arrive at its destination before the 25th of December.
Here are some dates, based on location, that you should keep in mind when sending out your packages.
1. Lower 48 States
If you live in the lower 48 states, then the listed dates depend on the type of shipping that you use.
If you’re using standard mail, like USPS Retail Ground Service, then you should have your package in the mail by December 15th.
Any later than that and there’s a chance that your package won’t make it in time.
If you’re using First-Class Mail, then you’ll want to get your package out no later than December 17th.
You can wait a bit longer with First-Class Mail because is faster than ground shipping since they often use planes or trains to get the packages around the country.
Priority Mail Service is the next quickest tier of shipping speed.
It’s a bit faster than both ground and First-Class Mail, so you need to get your package out no later than December 18th.
Priority Mail can be expensive, but that’s because more attention is given to things like tracking and assuring the package gets to the recipient in a few days.
It ensures that the package arrives where it needs to on time.
Finally, if you choose the fastest shipping service, Priority Mail Express, then you should have your package in the mail no later than December 23rd.
Priority Mail Express tends to deliver in one or two days.
This also gives your package the chance to arrive on the actual holiday, so it’s an ideal choice for last-minute items.
2. Alaska And Hawaii
If you live in Alaska or Hawaii, then you have different dates to keep in mind.
They’re different than the other states because they’re a bit further from the rest of the country.
Alaska is far north and closer to Canada than it is to the United States.
As for Hawaii, the islands have several miles of ocean separating them from the rest of the country.
Since there’s more distance to cover, you can expect it to take a bit longer for packages to reach their destinations.
If you’re using ground service for Alaska, then you’ll want to have your mail out no later than December 2nd.
There isn’t ground service for Hawaii since there isn’t a highway or tunnel that connects Hawaii to the mainland.
Those who live in Alaska, however, will want to make sure that they get their packages out by December 2nd if they want them to arrive in time for Christmas.
Those who live in the far north of Alaska might want to get packages out even earlier.
If you’re using either First-Class Mail or Priority Mail Service in Alaska, then you’ll want to get the package out before December 18th.
Since air travel is often used for both of those types of deliveries, packages will arrive a bit faster.
If you’re in Hawaii and want to use First-Class Mail or Priority Mail Service, then you’ll want to get packages out before December 17th.
Finally, if you’re using Priority Mail Express in either Alaska or Hawaii, then you’ll want to get your package mailed before December 21st.
While Priority Mail Express specializes in delivering mail in one or two days, because of the sheer distance between Alaska and Hawaii and the United States, it’s often impossible to get a package there the next day.
As always, if you want to be completely sure that your package will arrive before Christmas, then you should try to get it mailed far before the listed dates.
3. International Mail
If you have friends or family who live in other countries, then getting your package to them in time becomes even more complicated.
While the USPS will do its best to get the package delivered as soon as possible, it will fall to the specific country’s postal system to finish the delivery.
If a certain country doesn’t have a reliable post office, then it might not matter if you send the package by the listed date or not.
For example, if you are sending a package to Africa and you want to send it First-Class International or Priority Mail International, you should get it out before November 29th.
If you’re using Priority Mail Express International, then you can wait until December 6th.
The fastest international shipping that the USPS provides is Global Express Guaranteed Service.
If you use this service for Africa, then you don’t have to send your package until December 20th.
Canada is a little bit closer to the United States than most other countries.
However, the country is also large, so it’s important to keep that in mind when considering the listed dates for delivery.
If you want to send a package to someone in Canada and you’re using First-Class International or Priority Mail International, then you should get the package in the mail by December 6th.
Priority Mail Express International gives you a bit more time.
You’ll need to get the package out by December 13th if you want it to arrive by Christmas in Canada.
Using the Global Express Guaranteed Service buys you the most time.
You’re able to wait until December 22nd to send the package via USPS.
A final place to consider is Europe.
If you’re sending a package that’s First-Class International or Priority Mail International, then you’ll want to get it out by December 6th.
Priority Mail Express International will get your package to its destination by Christmas as long as you get it out by December 13th.
Finally, if you use Global Express Guaranteed Service, then you have until December 21st to get your package to the USPS.
4. Military Mail
Finally, those who plan on sending mail or packages to those who serve in the military will need to know what dates they should get their items to the USPS by to ensure they arrive by Christmas.
Since military bases are all over the world, you’ll need to know the address to determine how long you can wait.
If the military address is APO/FPO/DPO AE ZIPs 090-092, then you’ll want to get your package out by November 6th if you’re using ground service.
If you’re using First-Class Mail or Priority Mail, then you have until December 9th.
Priority Mail Express buys you a bit more time.
You need to get your package to the USPS by December 16th.
If the address is APO/FPO/DPO AE ZIPs 093, then the same dates listed above apply.
The only difference is that Priority Mail Express isn’t available for that address.
As such, you’ll need to choose another shipping type and ensure you get the package out by the specified date.
The following addresses all have the same dates as the first one listed, including the Priority Mail Express date:
- APO/FPO/DPO AE ZIPs 094-099
- APO/FPO/DPO AE ZIPs 340
- APO/FPO/DPO AE ZIPs 962-966
As long as you get your package out by those dates, then it should arrive at its destination by Christmas.
How To Make Your USPS Delivery Arrive Sooner
If you’re worried that your package won’t arrive in time for Christmas, then you might feel a little helpless.
You may be unsure of what you can do to speed up the process.
A lot of it is out of your hands, but there are a few things that you can do to help make the process a bit more efficient.
Here’s what you can do to make your package arrive sooner.
1. Intercept The Package
One thing you can do is bypass some of the USPS processes and get the package yourself.
If you let your delivery go through the entire chain, then it might not arrive when you need it.
That’s because there are several steps in the delivery process.
The package has to arrive at a distribution center.
It then goes through a sorting process before it goes to a truck or plane.
It may go through a few more distribution or sorting centers, and then to more trucks, before finally arriving at your local post office.
To cut some of that time out, you can make a Package Intercept request.
This adds a tag to your package that tells whoever has it to hold it for you.
If you happen to have it intercepted at a post office, then you can go to that post office and pick it up yourself.
This might cut out a few steps in the delivery process which could save you a day or two of waiting.
While this does mean you have to go and get the package yourself, it also means you’re able to get your package sooner.
Using Package Intercept is a great way to get your hands on your package sooner.
2. Hold Mail
You can also tell your local post office to hold your mail when it arrives.
If you don’t want to wait for your local post office worker to deliver your package, then you can tell them to hold it at the office.
This is ideal during the holiday season because the USPS is extremely busy.
It’s possible that they might not be able to deliver your package on time because the truck is already full.
As a result, you have to wait an extra day.
That’s not the case if you tell them to hold your package.
With a hold on your package, it won’t go on the truck.
Instead, you can drive to your local post office and pick up your package yourself.
Holding your mail or packages is a great way to take matters into your own hands and pick up your package yourself.
3. No Delivery Requirements
Sometimes, you may have an option to put in specific delivery requirements that the postal worker needs to follow to deliver your package.
For example, they might need to deliver in person to someone at home.
If no one is home, then they can’t make the delivery.
This ends up putting a delay on your package.
By removing any requirements, the postal worker can simply deliver the package and go on their way.
You’re able to get your package ASAP instead of having to wait until the next day for your delivery person to attempt another delivery.
The USPS delivers on Christmas Eve.
However, if you want to ensure that your package arrives by then, you’ll need to get the package out to the USPS by the specified date for your shipping speed and your destination.
You can also try some of the tips listed above to help speed things along to make your delivery arrive a little faster than normal.