United States Postal Service’s Shipping Deadlines Fast Approaching

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Christmas is fast approaching and so are the deadlines to ensure your holiday cards and packages reach their destinations by Christmas Day.

Tuesday, December 15, is the US Postal Service deadline to send less-than-urgent deliveries and oversized packages anywhere in the United States for delivery by Christmas.

Saturday, December 19, is the final day for standard-sized, single-piece envelopes and small packages weighing up to 13 ounces in three business days or less.

Priority mail, which delivers in one, two or three business days, based on where your package starts and where its going, must be shipped by December 21. All USPS Priority Mail express, or guaranteed overnight scheduled delivery, must be sent by December 23.

During the holidays, the Postal Service processes an average of 536 million pieces of mail daily.

Huntsville Postmaster Julius Williams says Huntsville processed 16,000 packages Monday, December 14, the USPS's busiest mailing day.

Thanks to technology, the USPS knows the exact location of each package.

"Now, with our new scanning visibility, we can track...the area, the yard, the house, the mailbox where that package was delivered by the carrier," Williams says.

However, if you won't be home when a package is expected - and there's no friend or neighbor to keep an eye on it - you may want to waive delivery and have the post office hold your items for safety. To learn more about the hold mail service, click here.

As for Fed Ex, ground and home deliveries must be sent by Wednesday, December 16. Their two-day delivery service must be sent by December 22, and overnight deliveries must be shipped by December 23.

All three-day select shipment for UPS must be sent by Friday, December 18 while two-day select shipment's deadline is December 21. The final day to ship via UPS for Christmas Day deliveries is December 22.