Dec. 18 is the suggested mailing date for first-class and priority mail to reach the Mainland before Christmas, according to the U.S. Postal Service.
Dec. 10 is the suggested mailing date for first-class and priority mail headed to international and overseas military destinations.
The suggested date for expedited express mail service to the Mainland is Dec. 20.
The Postal Service offers the suggested dates for letters, cards and packages that give them the best chance of reaching their destinations before Christmas, a news release said. Dates apply to mail received by the post office's cutoff time.
The Postal Service added that if mail is received after suggested dates there is still a chance that letters will arrive at their destinations before Christmas. In fact, if normal holiday conditions prevail, chances are good that letters and packages sent shortly after the suggested dates will still make it by Christmas.
The Postal Service expects to deliver almost 18 billion pieces of mail between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. During this holiday period, it will process an average of 560 million pieces of mail daily. On its busiest processing day, that number will increase to 658 million pieces, a news release said.
The busiest mailing day is anticipated to be Dec. 17. The busiest delivery day is likely to be Dec. 19 for cards and letters and Dec. 20 for packages.
The Postal Service printed 2.5 billion holiday stamps this year.
Other suggested mailing dates with locations, first-class and priority and express mail deadlines follow:
* Interisland, Dec. 20, Dec. 22.
* Guam and Saipan, Dec. 14, Dec. 20.
* American Samoa, Dec. 13, Dec. 19.
* Military APOs and FPOs, Dec. 10, Dec. 15.
* International, Dec. 10, Dec. 15.
* Africa and Central America, Saturday, Dec. 10.
Express mail international service is available to 190 countries with delivery in an average of three to five business days. Express mail military service is available to selected military post offices. Some express mail destinations may have extended service commitments.
In response to the increased holiday mail volume and as a holiday treat for their customers, postal carriers on city routes in Hawaii will be delivering parcels on the two Sundays before Christmas, Dec. 16 and 23.
The Postal Service reminds customers that it has self-service and mail centers open 24/7 that allow customers to buy stamps, print and pay for postage for packages and other transactions. On Maui, the centers are located at Kihei, Lahaina and Wailuku post offices.
The Postal Service offered some mailing tips:
* Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes offer an economical choice. Customers may send up to 70 pounds in medium Flat Rate Boxes to domestic locations for $11.35.
The large Flat Rate Box, which holds 50 percent more with the same 70-pound limit, goes for $15.45. Up to 70 pounds may be shipped in the military large Flat Rate Box to APO and FPO locations for $13.45.
* Pay for postage and print out mailing labels at USPS.com and save up to 15 percent off over-the-counter rates and receive free delivery confirmation. Discounted rates are available for priority, express and international mailings.
* Skip the trip to the post office during the holidays by printing out mailing labels for packages at USPS.com and notifying the Postal Service at usps.com/pickup that packages are ready to be picked up. Carriers will be alerted and will pick up packages from homes or offices, usually the next business day. There is no extra charge for the service.
* The Postal Service delivers express mail on Christmas Day in major U.S. metropolitan areas. Ask a local postal clerk to determine whether this option is available.