It's already that time of year again; the holidays are fast approaching.  For many, it's a busy season with a lot to accomplish in a short amount of time.  For most retailers, it's their busiest time of the year.  It's no different for mail delivery.

With an onslaught of cards, letters, packages, and more, the holiday season (the last few months of the year) is among the busiest time of the year for the United States Postal Service.  While the agency works diligently, the massive amount of additional items to process and deliver in that short time window make time schedules tight even in the best possible situation.

Many are also looking towards 2021 being especially hard - with the announcement of their Delivering For America Plan.  That plan, which was announced last month, uses a combination of postal rate increases and strategic "planned slowdowns" in delivery times to right-side their budget.

Getty Images

In advance of the prime shipping season, the United States Postal Service has released their Holiday Shipping Deadlines for 2021; these dates are the USPS's recommended dates to get letters, cards, and packages in the mail in order for them to arrive to your destination in time for Christmas (December 25).

Generally speaking, the USPS has the following advice:  "The earlier you send, the better.  Don't delay, mail and ship today".  While the full table of holiday deadlines is available on the USPS's website (click here), here is a summary:

2021 Holiday Shipping Dates for Contiguous United States (lower 48)

  • Domestic - USPS Retail Ground Service:  December 15
  • Domestic - First Class Mail Service:  December 17
  • Domestic - Priority Mail Service - December 18
  • Domestic - Priority Mail Express Service - December 23

2021 Holiday Shipping Dates for Alaska and Hawaii

  • Alaska - First Class Mail Service - December 18
  • Alaska - Priority Mail Service - December 18
  • Alaska - Priority Mail Express Service - December 21
  • Alaska - USPS Retail Ground Service - December 2
  • Hawaii - First Class Mail Service - December 17
  • Hawaii - Priority Mail Service - December 17
  • Hawaii - Priority Mail Express Service - December 21
  • Hawaii - USPS Retail Ground Service - N/A

The full date schedule available on the USPS's website also lists the holiday deadlines for International Mail - by country - along with Military Mail.

Get our free mobile app

The postal service also reminds people to be mindful of their mailboxes - especially this time of the year.  Thefts are on the rise, corresponding to the increase in online shopping and deliveries.  Don't let thieves take advantage of you by letting your guard down.  Know when your deliveries are expected and watch for them.

Getty Images

TOP 10: The best holiday TV specials of all time, ranked

LOOK: 15 Unconventional Christmas Albums From the Past 50 Years