The holidays are upon us and 2021 has left a logistical nightmare that would make the best S4 weep. Despite the coalition withdrawal from Afghanistan, U.S. service members remain deployed all over the world. Moreover, many of these men and women continue to serve in active combat zones. Here at home, duty and recall statuses will keep some troops away from their friends and families over the holidays. If you’re mailing a care package to a loved one, keep these 2021 holiday shipping dates in mind.
Whether you’re sending a sweater to someone in uniform stationed across the country or a fruitcake to a family member you’re not too keen on, be sure to send it out by the CONUS Lower 48 deadlines for the appropriate shipping service.
If you’re sending mail to a service member stationed at Pearl Harbor, Fort Wainwright or anywhere else in Alaska or Hawaii, note that these destinations have different shipping deadlines.
A significant change from 2020 to 2021 in Military Mail is the removal of Space Available and Parcel Airlift Mail. These services used to offer a reduced cost for mail going to military addresses overseas.
USPS notes that a delivery date by December 25 may vary depending on origin, destination, customs and other delays. As always, the sooner you send it, the better. Additionally, for Priority Mail Express shipments mailed between December 22 and December 25, the money-back guarantee only applies for shipments not delivered or delivery was not attempted within two business days. Finally, Priority Mail Express Military Service is only available to select military and diplomatic post offices. Be sure to check with your local post office to see if the APO/FPO/DPO address you are mailing to has this service.
Only the USPS, in conjunction with the Military Postal Service Agency operating on its behalf, delivers to APO/FPO/DPO addresses. However, private shipping solutions like FedEx SmartPost and UPS SurePost work with USPS to ensure delivery to overseas military addresses. Check with the company for their own shipping deadlines keeping in mind the extra handling time between them and USPS.