Holiday Shipping Deadlines

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SPARKS, Nev. -- There's nothing more disappointing than getting your Christmas present a few days or even weeks late. It's not too late to send your packages and save you hundreds of dollars.

Heather McKinney doesn't need a calendar to know when it's the holiday season.

"Right around christmas time is the busiest time and that's when everybody starts coming in," she said.

As Christmas gets closer, the crowds get bigger. If you want to avoid a costly headache this year, you'll want to ship your packages early, starting now.

The two to three day delivery the post office tells you is a goal, but there are many factors that can delay the arrival time.

"Weather delays, any a number of things can happen. You never want to wait until the last minute," McKinney said. "If you're going to the east coast, it's usually 5 to 6 days and you can't count Saturday and Sunday."

It's important to have a two week buffer before Christmas in order to get your mail to arrive on time. If you're shipping to the west coast, you have until December 19 before you have to switch to priority shipping.

"You're trying to get your package there when millions of other people are doing the exact same thing," McKinney said.

To make it easier on yourself and the post office, plan ahead, but old habits die hard.

"Usually, we wait too long and we buy things online," said a customer at Easy Mail. "We're shipping to Pittsburgh so we want to give it plenty of time."

When you're shipping off packages, it's important to remember not to use paper because it could rip off along with the address. Also, try avoid using string or duct tape because they can easily come off the package as well.

Here are mailing deadlines you should be award of:

Dec. 10 -- Priority and First-Class APO/FPO Military Mail (not Afghanistan)

Dec. 14 -- U.S. Parcel Post (ground) packages

Dec. 17 -- Express Overseas Military Mail

Dec. 10 -- International First-Class and Priority Mail (*)

Dec. 19 -- Global Express Mail (*)

Dec. 20 – Cards and Letters. Dec. 21 – Priority Mail

Dec. 22 – Express Mail.