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How to avoid shipping delays this holiday season

With more Americans shopping online, the United States Postal Service warns of possible shipping delays due to the shear number of packages.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Online shoppers have added more to their virtual carts than ever before.

The holiday season is something the United States Postal Service (USPS) prepares for every year, and every year they tell shoppers to send their loved one's gift as soon as possible. 

“We cannot stress enough through our operations and the holiday season is to ship early. Ship early," said Nicole Hill, communications specialist for USPS.

"Don’t wait until that last deadline. Don’t wait until that last day to get it there.”

For Kelsey Mihalovich, a small business owner in West Des Moines, shipping products is a new process for her store. She added the option for Hinge in March as another way for customers to receive her products during the pandemic

“The closer we do get to Christmas, I do think we’ll have to add in maybe a disclosure that you’re shopping at your own risk and understanding that shipping times may be delayed," Mihalovich explained.

With all that online shopping, USPS is hiring for the season. Fedex plans to hire around 70,000 workers, and UPS will hire more than 100,000 temporary employees to get through the end-of-the-year rush. 

2020 Holiday Shipping Deadlines

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. 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 (including greeting cards)
  • Dec. 18 — First-class packages (up to 15.99 ounces)
  • Dec. 19 — Priority Mail service
  • Dec. 23 — Priority Mail Express* service


  • 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


  • Dec. 15 — Hawaii to/from mainland Priority Mail and First-Class Mail
  • Dec. 21 — Hawaii to/from mainland Priority Mail Express

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