When it comes to the holidays, it's always a good idea to plan ahead. That means decorating the house early, getting your shopping done with time to spare, and mailing out gifts promptly.
To help keep you on track, the United States Postal Service (USPS) has just published a shipping calendar with recommended send-by dates for delivery before Christmas. The tables include all different classes of mail to locations around the world.
Video of the Day
"The earlier you send, the better: Don't delay, mail and ship today," writes USPS on its website.
In the Lower 48, USPS recommends mailing out USPS Retail Ground and First-Class items by December 17, while Priority Mail items can be shipped by December 19. And for those who are running a bit late, you can send Priority Mail Express items all the way up to December 23.
Alaska and Hawaii have slightly bumped up dates. Ground to Alaska needs to be mailed by December 2, while First Class and Priority need to be mailed by December 17. The absolute last day you should mail anything is December 21 — you'll have to pay up for Priority Mail Express.
As for international destinations, each region has its own schedule of mail-by dates, but generally speaking, you're looking at early December for First-Class packages (November 29 for Africa), and December 20 through 22 for Global Express Guaranteed items.
Finally, USPS also shares dates for military mail. Ground Service deadlines have already passed, but you can send out First-Class and Priority Mail by December 9 and Priority Mail Express Military (PMEMS) items by December 16.
Find all the specifics here, and remember, don't wait until the last minute. Beat the crowds by heading to your nearest post office ASAP — and make sure to give an enormous thanks to all the hardworking postal workers making this happen.