What You Need to Know About Shipping Gifts This Year

NBC 7 Responds looked at some of the tips from USPS for mailing cards and gifts

NBC Universal, Inc.

It's a busy season for the mail system. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, more people are staying home and shipping gifts to friends instead. The U.S. Postal Service says this year you should try to send them even earlier.

"This year we expect more holiday volume than ever before," said Johnathan Castillo, a spokesperson for USPS. "That's as family and friends will really be holding more virtual celebrations instead of opening gifts in person."

The postal service used to recommend shipping presents at least two weeks before Christmas. Castillo says they expect to hit peak shipping season earlier this year, possibly by December 7.

USPS says it is ready for the flood of boxes soon to be on its way all over the country.

"Currently, we have over 644,000 hardworking, dedicated employees and we'll be adding additional seasonal help as needed," Castillo said. "Early morning and Sunday delivery have already been expanded."

Make sure you send your packages as early as possible. Castillo says any military packages will take longer to deliver. If you want them to arrive by Christmas, make sure you send them by December 11.

"The postal service always encourages customers to send gifts and cards as early as possible," Castillo said. "This year is no different."

If you're using first-class or priority mail, Castillo says you should send your items by December 18. If you're willing to pay more, you can pay for two-day shipping and send packages before December 23.

There's a few other things to keep in mind while mailing items. The USPS says if you aren't sure what zip code someone has, it's better to leave it off then put the wrong one. Castillo says you also need to be careful what boxes you send gifts in.

"Do not reuse boxes," Castillo said. "These are fragile and weaken during the shipping process. Instead, you're better off with a Priority Mail Express box which are available for free at the post office."

Post offices are also entering extended hours to make sure you have time to ship your packages. You can see if your local post office is open later at USPS.com.

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