RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — This week is expected to be the busiest of the holiday mailing and shipping season for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).

According to a Monday morning release, Dec. 14 through Dec. 21 is the final week to get holiday gifts and greetings in the mail by the recommended deadlines.

“This has been an extraordinary year of unprecedented challenges given the COVID-19 pandemic — and the Postal Service is expecting significant increases in the volume of mail and packages,” the release said.

Sunday delivery has reportedly been expanded in select high package volume locations, with USPS already delivering packages on Sundays in most major cities. USPS officials say Priority Mail Express packages can also be delivered Christmas Day in select locations for an additional fee.

USPS recommends the following mailing and shipping deadlines for expected delivery by Dec. 25:

  • Dec. 15 — USPS Retail Ground service
  • Dec. 18 — APO/FPO/DPO (except ZIP Code 093) USPS Priority Mail Express service
  • Dec. 18 — First-Class Mail service (including greeting cards)
  • Dec. 18 — First-class packages (up to 15.99 ounces)
  • Dec. 19 — Priority Mail service
  • Dec. 23 — Priority Mail Express service

Alaska

  • Dec. 18 — Alaska to/from Continental U.S. First-Class Mail
  • Dec. 19 — Alaska to/from Continental U.S. Priority Mail
  • Dec. 21 — Alaska to/from Continental U.S. Priority Mail Express

Hawaii

  • Dec. 15 — Hawaii to/from mainland Priority Mail and First-Class Mail
  • Dec. 21 — Hawaii to/from mainland Priority Mail Express