When should holiday packages be shipped by to get to loved ones on time?


RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The clock is ticking for those with holiday packages to ship, and the United States Postal Service wants to make you aware of the deadlines in order to get gifts to your loved ones before Christmas.

Tiffani Berry-Fletcher with the Richmond Main Post Office on Brook Road said they’ve seen an increase in customers and have had to make some additions to keep up with the influx.

“We’ve definitely seen an uptick in our foot traffic for the retail lobbies as well as our workroom floors. But we’re ready,” she told 8News Tuesday. “We are really, really ready. Our entire team is focused on delivering for our nation and the Richmond district.”

Across Richmond, Berry-Fletcher said USPS has added 122 sales and service associates, just an example of sweeping changes the Postal Service has made across the country.

“We have increased our sorting machines nationwide. There are 112 additional sorting machines. They’re 10 to 12 times faster as well,” she explained.

She said the sooner customers come in to mail their packages, the better.

The recommended deadline to get your packages to your loved ones before the holiday is December 17 for first class mail, December 18 for priority mail and December 23 for priority mail express.

Berry-Fletcher said she’s seen all kinds of packages in her years at the post office, but if you have something like a fruitcake you want to keep fresh, make sure it’s packaged with care.

“Make sure it’s sufficiently wrapped and that it is packaged with extra packing material and that it’s marked fragile as well,” she said.

For first-class mail, prices are up temporarily 6.8%. USPS said this is to offset declining revenue due to first-class mail volume declines.

Over the last 10 years, USPS reports that mail volume has declined by 46 billion pieces, or 28%, and is continuing to decline.

In that same period, first-class mail volume dropped 32% and single piece first-class mail volume, including letters with postage stamps, has declined 47%.

Summarized USPS Price Changes

First-Class MailCurrent PricesNew Prices
First-Class Mail Single-Piece Letters (1 oz.)$0.55$0.58
First-Class Mail Single-Piece Letters additional ounce$0.20$0.20 (unchanged)
First-Class Mail Letters (metered 1 oz.)$0.51$0.53
First-Class Mail Domestic Postcards$0.36$0.40
First-Class Mail Single-Piece Flats (1 oz.)$1.00$1.16
InternationalCurrent PricesNew Prices
Outbound International Letters (1 oz.)$1.20$1.30

USPS said the new pricing will enable the postal service to grow revenue to help achieve financial sustainability to fulfill its universal service mission.

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