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Suggested Christmas mailing dates out

The Maui News

The priority and first-class suggested mailing date for packages from Hawaii to reach the Mainland before Christmas is Dec. 19, and the first international suggested date is Friday, the U.S. Postal Service announced.

Procrastinators have until Dec. 21 to send their packages to the Mainland via expedited Priority Express shipping service, a postal service news release said.

The postal service said that the dates are not deadlines because packages and letters mailed shortly after the suggested dates have a good chance of reaching their destinations before Christmas under normal holiday conditions. Factors that could delay arrivals are mailing volumes and weather.

More than 13 billion pieces of mail and 800 million packages are expected to be delivered by the postal service between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. The week of Dec. 16 to 22 is predicted to be the busiest with more than 2.5 billion pieces of first-class mail, including greeting cards, to be processed and delivered that week.

During the busiest week, about 28 million packages will be delivered each day, the postal service said.

The suggested deadlines from Hawaii, first class/priority mail and priority express follow:

• International, Friday, Dec. 13.

• Military APOs and FPOs, Friday, Dec. 13.

• American Samoa, Friday, Dec. 14.

• Guam and Saipan, Dec. 13, Dec. 19.

• Mainland, Dec. 19, Dec. 21.

• Within Hawaii, Dec. 10, Dec. 21.

There are self-service ship and mail centers at the Kihei, Lahaina and Wailuku post offices on Maui. These kiosks, available 24/7, 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.

Some mailing tips:

• Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes. Customers may send up to 70 pounds in medium Flat Rate Boxes to domestic locations for $14.35. Large Flat Rate boxes, with the same 70-pound limit, are $19.95 for Mainland shipping and $18.45 for military troops overseas to most APO and FPO locations. The boxes are available for free at post offices.

• Use USPS.com. Pay for postage and print out mailing labels at the website. After printing out the mailing labels, customers can have pickup arranged by postal carriers at usps.com/pickup. Carriers will be alerted for the pickup, usually the next business day. This service is free. Packages also can be dropped off at a post office without waiting in line.

• Free insurance for all Priority Mail and Priority Express envelopes and boxes.

The postal service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses, and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.