by Airman 1st class Jessica Hines
21st Space Wing Public Affairs
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — When it comes to delivering gifts to children all over the world in one night, Santa Claus has the market cornered. But when it comes to processing and delivering more than 20 billion pieces of mail through the holiday season, the U.S. Postal Service and Military Postal Service Agency come out on top.
To make sure your holiday gifts and greeting cards make it through this year’s cyclone of postal processing, take a tip from the mail gurus themselves and adhere to a few holiday cut-off dates.
When sending gifts overseas to military loved ones, how you choose to send a gift can be just as important as picking out that special gift and choosing between the sparkly red or silver wrapping paper. How you choose to ship an item determines when you need to ship it.
For parcel post – the slowest shipping method – mail the package by Nov. 12 to get it there by Dec. 25 to overseas locations. Hanukkah begins Dec. 1 this year, so for parcel post, send gifts 24 days prior.
For a break-down of all shipping methods and dates, refer to the Military Postal Service Agency shipping recommendation deadlines:
n Parcel post: Nov. 12 for all overseas locations.
n Priority and first class: Dec. 4 to contingency loca tions (APO/FPO AE Zip 093); all other overseas loca tions by Dec. 10.
n Express: Not applicable to contingency locations, Dec. 18 for all others.
n Space Available Mail: Nov. 20 to contingency loca tions; all others by Nov. 26.
n Parcel Airlift Mail: Dec. 1 to contingency locations; all others by Dec. 3.
n First-class cards and letters: Dec. 4 to contingency locations; all others by Dec. 10.
The Postal Service also offers several shipping resources to help family and friends send packages to military personnel serving overseas. The first is the Priority Mail APO/FPO Flat Rate Box, which features predetermined rates regardless of weight or destination, similar to other flat rate products.
Mail sent to overseas military addresses is charged only domestic mail prices. The domestic mail price for the Priority Mail Large Flat Rate Box is $14.50, but for packages to APO/FPO addresses overseas the price is reduced to $12.50.
The Postal Service also offers free Military Care Kits, designed specifically for military families. The mailing kits can be ordered by calling 1-800-610-8734 and asking for the Military Care Kit. Each kit includes two “America Supports You” large Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes, four medium-sized Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes, six Priority Mail labels, one roll of Priority Mail tape and six customs forms with envelopes.
For more information on shipping gifts and packages to overseas military locations visit: http://www.usps.com/supportingourtroops/