Hawai‘i Holiday Mailing Dates, Tips, Volume Info

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Big Island Now stock photo. Dec. 2016

Big Island Now stock photo. Dec. 2016

The Postal Service has provided suggested holiday mailing dates specific to Hawai‘i, news on extended holiday services, information about convenient self-service options and holiday mailing tips.

Suggested Mailing Dates

Below are the dates that the U.S. Postal Service suggests Hawai‘i residents mail their letters, cards and packages to give them the best chances of reaching their destinations by Christmas. Note that the dates apply to the mail received by each post office’s daily cutoff time.

USPS suggested mailing dates are Dec. 7 for first-class and Priority mail headed to international and overseas military destinations, and Dec. 16 for First-Class and Priority mail headed to the Mainland.

Procrastinators have until Dec. 21 to send their holiday cheer to the Mainland via expedited Priority Express shipping service.

Dates apply to mail received by each Post Office’s cutoff time.
From Hawai‘i to . . . First-Class & Priority Mail Priority Express Mail
U.S. Mainland Dec 16 Dec 21
Hawaii Dec 22 Dec 23
Guam & Saipan Dec 14 Dec 20
American Samoa Dec 8 Dec 15
Military APOs & FPOs  Dec 7 Dec 14
International  Dec 7 Dec 14

Postal customers are asked to keep in mind that the suggested mailing dates above are not deadlines, implying that packages or letters will not arrive at their destinations if mailed after the listed dates. In fact, if normal holiday conditions prevail, chances are good that letters and packages sent shortly after the suggested dates will still make it to their destinations before Christmas. Ultimately, uncontrollable factors such as mailing volumes and weather determine whether deliveries can be made early or on time.

No Extended Retail Hours This Year

We won’t be extending our hours of operation at any of our Hawaii Post Offices this holiday season. Instead, we’re encouraging our customers to take advantage of our 24-hour self-service kiosks and the online payment and pickup options at

Self Service Ship & Mail Centers

These convenient postal kiosks allow customers to purchase stamps, print and pay for postage for packages, and conduct other common transactions without the need to stand in line to see a mail clerk–an all-too-frequent necessity during holiday mailing season. Perhaps most important, customers can access the Self Service Ship & Mail Centers 24/7, at times that are convenient to them. USPS Self Service Ship & Mail Centers are located in Hawaii outside or in the service lobbies of the 16 Post Offices below, in addition to one located inside the Safeway on Kapahulu Avenue on O‘ahu:


Aina Haina
Airport – 2 kiosks
Ala Moana
Hawaii Kai
Hilo Main Office

Mailing Tips

Here are some time- and money-saving tips to help make the holidays a little brighter:

Save $$$ with FLAT RATE BOXES: Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes are the best deal around. Customers can send up to 70 pounds in Medium Flat Rate Boxes to domestic locations for only $13.45. An even better deal is the Large Flat Rate Box, which holds 50% more (with the same 70-pound limit) for only $18.75, and features the tagline “Seasons Greetings from Hawaii” printed on its side. And, to support our military troops overseas, up to 70 pounds can be shipped in the military Large Flat Rate Box to most APO and FPO locations for only $16.75.

Save time; USE & SKIP THE TRIP TO THE POST OFFICE: Pay for your postage and print out your mailing label at After printing out the mailing labels for your packages at, notify us at that they’re ready to be picked up. Your carrier will be alerted and will pick up your packages from your home or office, usually the next business day. There is no extra charge for this service. You can also drop off your prepaid packages at a Post Office without waiting in line.


FREE insurance: All Priority Mail and Priority Express envelopes and boxes now include day-specific delivery, improved tracking and FREE insurance.

FREE packaging: Priority Mail and Priority Express envelopes and boxes, including special “Seasons Greetings From Hawaii” large Flat Rate boxes, are available for FREE at your local Post Office.

Express Mail on Christmas Day: The Postal Service delivers Express Mail on Christmas Day in major U.S. metropolitan areas. Ask your local postal clerk to determine whether this option is available for your holiday packages.

New This Year – Animated Gift Alerts

During the holidays, customers across the nation can send animated augmented reality gift alerts to the recipients of their USPS packages. All they have to do is to download the “USPS AR” app—available at iTunes or Google Play—and then scan the blue “shield” labeled “tracked & insured” on their Priority Mail packages. The app will call up a selection of animated greetings framing the actual package. The customer then snaps a photo of the image and sends it on—via text, email or social media channels–to alert the gift recipient that a package is on its way. When the recipient receives the package they can use the app in the same way to send a message to the sender acknowledging receipt of the package.

By the Numbers – Nationwide

The Postal Service expects to process and deliver approximately 16 billion pieces of mail and 750 million packages between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. That projected holiday package volume is an increase of 12% over last year.

During this holiday period, the average number of mail pieces processed daily increases from 508 to 525 million pieces. On its busiest processing day, that number will increase to 611 million.

The busiest mailing day nationwide is anticipated to be Monday, Dec. 19. The busiest delivery day nationwide is expected to be Thursday, Dec. 22.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses, and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

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