U.S. Postal Service holiday mailing dates, tips for Hawaii

If you want to ensure your holiday packages are delivered by Christmas, the U.S. Postal Service has key dates and tips for you.

The Postal Service suggests Hawaii residents mail their letters, cards and packages by Dec. 7 for first-class and Priority mail headed to international and overseas military destinations, and Dec. 16 for First-Class and Priority mail headed to the mainland.

Procrastinators have until Dec. 21 to send their holiday cheer to the mainland via our expedited Priority Express shipping service.

From Hawaii to: First-Class & Priority Mail Priority Express Mail
U.S. Mainland Dec. 16 Dec. 21
Hawaii Dec. 22 Dec. 23
Guam & Saipan Dec. 14 Dec. 20
American Samoa Dec. 8 Dec. 15
Military APOs & FPOs Dec. 7 Dec. 14
International Dec. 7 Dec. 14

Dates apply to mail received by each post office’s cutoff time.

Postal customers are asked to keep in mind that the above suggested mailing dates are not deadlines, implying that packages or letters will not arrive at their destinations if mailed after the listed dates. In fact, if normal holiday conditions prevail, chances are good that letters and packages sent shortly after the suggested dates will still make it to their destinations before Christmas. Ultimately, uncontrollable factors such as mailing volumes and weather determine whether deliveries can be made early or on time.

No Extended Retail Hours This Year
The Postal Service won’t be extending hours of operation at any Hawaii Post Offices this holiday season. Instead, customers are encouraged to take advantage of 24-hour self-service kiosks and online payment and pickup options at USPS.com.

Self Service Ship & Mail Centers
Postal kiosks allow customers to purchase stamps, print and pay for postage for packages, and conduct other common transactions without the need to stand in line to see a mail clerk. Customers can access the Self Service Ship & Mail Centers 24/7 at times that are convenient to them. USPS Self Service Ship & Mail Centers are located in Hawaii outside or in the service lobbies of the 16 Post Offices below, in addition to one located inside the Safeway on Kapahulu Avenue on Oahu:

  • Aina Haina
  • Airport – 2 kiosks
  • Ala Moana
  • Downtown.
  • Hawaii Kai
  • Hilo Main Office
  • Kailua
  • Kailua-Kona
  • Kaneohe
  • Kihei
  • Lahaina
  • Makiki
  • Mililani
  • Waialae-Kahala
  • Waikiki
  • Wailuku

Mailing Tips

Save money with flat-rate boxes. Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes are the best deal around. Customers can send up to 70 pounds in Medium Flat Rate Boxes to domestic locations for only $13.45. An even better deal is the Large Flat Rate Box, which holds 50 percent more (with the same 70-pound limit) for only $18.75, and features the tagline “Seasons Greetings from Hawaii” printed on its side. And, to support our military troops overseas, up to 70 pounds can be shipped in the military Large Flat Rate Box to most APO and FPO locations for only $16.75.

Use USPS.com and skip a trip to the post office. Pay for your postage and print out your mailing label at USPS.com. After printing out the mailing labels for your packages at USPS.com, notify us at usps.com/pickup that they’re ready to be picked up. Your carrier will be alerted and will pick up your packages from your home or office, usually the next business day. There is no extra charge for this service. You can also drop off your prepaid packages at a Post Office without waiting in line.

Take advantage of free insurance. All Priority Mail and Priority Express envelopes and boxes now include day-specific delivery, improved tracking and FREE insurance.

Take advantage of free packaging. Priority Mail and Priority Express envelopes and boxes, including special “Seasons Greetings From Hawaii” large Flat Rate boxes, are available for free at your local Post Office.

Ask about Express Mail on Christmas Day. The Postal Service delivers Express Mail on Christmas Day in major U.S. metropolitan areas. Ask your local postal clerk to determine whether this option is available for your holiday packages.

New This Year: Animated Gift Alerts
During the holidays, customers across the nation can send animated augmented reality gift alerts to the recipients of their USPS packages. All they have to do is to download the “USPS AR” app—available at iTunes or Google Play—and then scan the blue “shield” labeled “tracked & insured” on their Priority Mail packages. The app will call up a selection of animated greetings framing the actual package. The customer then snaps a photo of the image and sends it on—via text, email or social media channels–to alert the gift recipient that a package is on its way. When the recipient receives the package they can use the app in the same way to send a message to the sender acknowledging receipt of the package.

Did You Know…

  • The Postal Service expects to process and deliver approximately 16 billion pieces of mail and 750 million packages between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. That projected holiday package volume is an increase of 12 percent over last year.
  • During this holiday period, the average number of mail pieces processed daily increases from 508 to 525 million pieces. On its busiest processing day that number will increase to 611 million.
  • The busiest mailing day nationwide is anticipated to be Monday, Dec. 19. The busiest delivery day nationwide is expected to be Thursday, Dec. 22.
  • 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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