Holiday Shipping Tips

(HawaiiNewsNow)- Now that everyone has survived the mad Black Friday shopping rush, Hawaii residents' thoughts will likely turn to Christmas shopping and shipping. The Postal Service is happy to assist its customers in that endeavor by providing suggested holiday mailing dates specific to Hawaii, news on extended holiday services, information about convenient self-service options, and holiday mailing tips.

Suggested Mailing Dates

Below are the dates that the Postal Service suggests Hawaii residents mail their letters, cards and packages to give them the best chances of reaching their destinations by Christmas. Note that the dates apply to the mail received by each Post Office's daily cutoff time.

Our suggested mailing dates are Dec. 10 for first-class and Priority mail headed to international and overseas military destinations, and Dec. 18 for First-Class and Priority Mail headed to the mainland. Procrastinators have until Dec. 20 to send their holiday cheer to the mainland via our expedited Express Mail service.

First-Class & Express

From Hawaii to . . .Priority Mail Mail

U.S. Mainland Dec 18 Dec 20

Hawaii Dec 20 Dec 22

Guam & Saipan Dec 14 Dec 20

American Samoa Dec 13 Dec 19

Military APOs & FPOs Dec 10 Dec 15*

International*** Dec 10 Dec 15**

Dates apply to mail received by each Post Office's cutoff time.

* Express Mail military service available to selected military Post Offices. Some Express Mail destinations may have extended service commitments. Check with your local Post Office to determine availability.

** Express Mail international service is available to 190 countries, with delivery in an average of 3-5 business days.

*** Africa and Central America: Send First Class/Priority Mail by Dec.1 and Express Mail by Dec. 10.

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.

Special Sunday Services

· The Airport (Honolulu) Post Office, which normally serves customers Monday through Saturday, will be open on what is projected to be the busiest Sunday in December to accommodate the increased holiday mail volume. On Sunday, Dec. 16, it will be open to serve customers from noon to 5 p.m.

· In response to the increased holiday mail volume and as a holiday treat for their customers, postal carriers on city routes in Hawaii will be delivering parcels on the two Sundays before Christmas, Dec. 16 and 23.

Self Service Ship & Mail Centers

These convenient 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--an all-too-frequent necessity during holiday mailing season. Perhaps most important, 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 18 Post Offices below:

Aina Haina


Ala Moana


Hawaii Kai

Hilo Main Office













Mailing Tips

Here are some time- and money-saving tips to help make the holidays a little brighter:

. Save $$$ 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 $11.35. An even better deal is the Large Flat Rate Box, which holds 50 percent more (with the same 70-pound limit) for only $15.45, 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 APO and FPO locations for only $13.45.

· Save $$$ with ONLINE DISCOUNTS: Pay for your postage and print out your mailing label at and save up to 15 percent off of over-the-counter rates and receive FREE Delivery Confirmation. Discounted rates are available for Priority, Express and International mailings. Examples: Discounted Medium Flat Rate Boxes sent domestically are $10.85; Large Flat Rate Boxes sent domestically are $14.65; military APO/FPO Large Flat Rate Boxes are $12.65.

· FREE package pickup: Skip the trip to the Post Office during the holidays. After printing out the mailing labels for your packages at, notify us at 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.

· FREE packaging: Priority Mail and Express Mail envelopes and boxes, including special "Seasons Greetings From Hawaii" large Flat Rate boxes, are available for FREE at your local Post Office.

· 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.

By the Numbers - Nationwide

· The Postal Service expects to deliver almost 18 billion pieces of mail between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year.

· During this holiday period it will process an average of 560 million pieces of mail daily. On its busiest processing day that number will increase to 658 million.

· The Postal Service will serve a total of 242 million customers at its Post Offices and an additional 37 million customers online at during the holidays.

· The busiest mailing day is anticipated to be Dec. 17. The busiest delivery day is likely to be Dec. 19 for cards and letters and Dec. 20 for packages.

· The Postal Service printed 2.5 billion holiday stamps this year.

Copyright 2012 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.