USPS logo.png

The United States Postal Service is gearing up for the holiday season and has announced guidelines to help customers get their packages, letters and holiday mail to their destinations in time for the special days.

The busiest days for mail and delivery services, according to USPS, starts around the week of Dec. 6. Dec. 13-18 are anticipated to be the peak busiest days for mailing, shipping and delivery, according to the agency.

USPS said that customers can also ship packages from home by visiting for available at-home shipping options. An estimated 500,000 customers will use the Click-N-Ship feature and other online services on Dec. 14 to order free Priority Mail boxes, print shipping labels, purchase postage and request free next-day Package Pickup, according to USPS.

To beat the rush, USPS has suggested deadlines for when customers should send out their packages in order to expected deliveries by Dec. 25 for domestic addresses as well as Air/Army Post Office/Fleet Post Office/Diplomatic Post Office (APO/FPO/DPO).

Dec. 9 — APO/FPO/DPO (all ZIP Codes) Priority Mail and First-Class Mail

Dec. 15 — USPS Retail Ground service

Dec. 16 — APO/FPO/DPO (except ZIP Code 093) USPS Priority Mail Express Military service

Dec. 17 — First-Class Mail service (including greeting cards)

Dec. 17 — First-Class packages (up to $15.99 ounces)

Dec. 18 — Priority Mail service

Dec. 23 — Priority Mail Expressservice

USPS stated it cannot guarantee delivery, but these estimated dates should guide customers to send their packages in a timely manner.

As of Aug. 29, the cost of a Forever stamp increased to .58 cents from .55 cents. Temporary price increases are in place through 12:01 a.m., Central Time, Dec. 26 on all retail and commercial domestic competitive parcels for some of USPS’s more popular shipping products, which also includes military shipping — Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail, First-Class Package Service, Parcel Select, USPS Retail Ground and Parcel Return Service. International products are unaffected.

These temporary rates will keep the Postal Service competitive while providing the agency with the revenue to cover extra costs in anticipation of peak-season volume surges similar to levels experienced in 2020, USPS stated in a press release.

All High Country counties are in Zone 8 for the USPS, and the price increases for Ground and USPS Retail Ground and First Class Package Service for packages 0-10 pounds in this zone is .25 cents and for packages 11-20 pounds it is $3.

The temporary price adjustment is one part of “Delivering for America,” the Postal Service’s 10-year plan for achieving financial sustainability and service excellence, which calls for appropriate pricing initiatives. Even with the temporary increase, the Postal Service has some of the lowest mail postage rates in the industrialized world and continues to offer great values in shipping.

Holiday Cheer is live and ready to help make the 2021 holiday season special for kids and families in need. The program has helped hundreds of thousands of people for more than a century, according to the agency.

Adopting a Letter

Registered adopters should visit, read through the letters and pick one or more wishes that they’d like to make come true. Once the letters are chosen, adopters must follow the directions they received in their welcome email in order to make sure gifts arrive on time. Letters can be adopted through Dec. 22. Packages can be shipped until Jan. 14.

Letter adopters are responsible for all costs to ship the gift packages, including appropriate postage.

All letter adopters must complete a short, annual ID verification.

If for some reason potential adopters are unable to verify their identity online, they will be provided a code and given instructions on how to get verified in person at one of the 19,000 participating Post Office locations which offer the Label Broker service.

Qualifying Post Office locations can also be found online using the tool. Once approved, the adopter will receive a welcome email with detailed information on how to participate in the program.

Businesses and other organizations can also get into the spirit of the season by forming teams to adopt letters. Everyone participating on a team must also go through the verification process.

Letters will be posted to the website twice a day. New for this year is a countdown clock so participants will know when new letters will be posted and available for selection.

The program began accepting letters Nov. 1. Letters had to be postmarked by Dec. 10 and will be uploaded to the website through Dec. 15. The last day to adopt letters is Dec. 22 and packages can be shipped until Jan. 14. So, if someone hasn’t written a letter yet, they still have some time.

There is no guarantee that letters submitted to the program will be adopted.

When someone writes a letter, it is opened by “Santa’s Elves,” and for safety reasons, all personally identifiable information of the letter writer is removed (such as last name, address, ZIP Code) and uploaded to for adoption.

Program Details

USPS Operation Santa was established by the Postal Service 109 years ago to help those in need experience a happy holiday season. You don’t have to be religious or even believe in Santa to participate.

Program participation is simple. Just write a letter, not an email, put it in an envelope affixed with a First-Class Mail stamp, and make sure you include your full return address — apartment number, directional information (i.e., E Main St, Apt 103) and ZIP Code — and send it to Santa’s official workshop address:

Santa Claus

123 Elf Road

North Pole, 88888

Letters without full return addresses or names will not be posted for adoption.

How to Write a Letter

Sending a letter to Santa is easy and the Postal Service has guides and tips to help kids write and send their best letters ever. All the information you could possibly need on how to write a letter, address an envelope, put on a stamp it and send it on its way can be found on and in our Holiday Newsroom.

These tips are also good year-round for sending thank-you cards, birthday cards, or letters to friends and family just to say “Hi.”

How about what to ask for in the letter? Well, that’s up to the creativity of each and every person who writes in. But the more specific writers are with sizes, colors, styles, favorite authors, book titles, toys, etc., the better chance their wishes will be granted if their letter is adopted.

Some kids include artwork in their letters. Santa and his elves love seeing all the creativity, but please don’t include anything with glitter or other items (such as macaroni) glued to the paper. Letters with items glued to them will not be uploaded to the website for adoption.

USPS Operation Santa HistoryThe Postal Service began receiving letters to Santa more than a century ago. In 1912, then-Postmaster General Frank Hitchcock authorized local postmasters to allow postal employees and customers to respond to them. This became what is now known as USPS Operation Santa.

The complete Operation Santa history can be found online at the USPS Holiday Newsroom, along with additional news and information, including all mailing and shipping deadlines.

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

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.