Every year we give you a breakdown of how to plan for the delivery of end-of-year holiday cards and gifts. Since 2020 has been crazy, we wanted to dig into some details and help you plan to celebrate with employees, clients, and family.
Holiday Cards and Gifts: Cards, Annual Appeals, or Year-End Messages
This year planning in advance is going to be key. With political concerns around the delivery of ballots, the USPS has been extremely diligent in managing their first class mail. We’re tracking the mailings leaving our business via agMail+ and are noticing a few additional days delivery time for most large mailers. This is true of both first-class and standard (AKA: Bulk) mail.
Your postage class for holiday cards and gifts will need to be chosen carefully this year. While it is tempting to save money on postage by using “bulk” (presort standard) rates, please note that these mailings are last in line for attention by the USPS. Nonprofit rate mail is also treated the same as bulk mail from an urgency of delivery point of view. Keep this in mind while planning for your entry into the mail stream during the holidays when the USPS is already experiencing increased volume. And avoid delivering time-sensitive information using any standard class mail during November or December.
So what are the best practices for mailing in the next couple of months?
Thanksgiving: We recommended that cards and gifts arrive in mailboxes by Monday, November 23rd before Thanksgiving on Thursday. To arrive by that date your cards need to be in the mail by the following dates:
- Standard Class, Flats or Packages: November 6th
- Nationwide First Class Mail: November 13th
- Regional First Class Mail: November 18th (Regional Mail is typically the metropolitan area or state region)
Christmas and New Year: Thanksgiving falls late in the month again this year. So don’t wait until after that holiday to begin planning your Christmas or New Year cards and gifts. We are recommending clients mail cards EARLY this year. Delivery between December 15 – 18th should ensure your card gets into the hands of the recipient before people depart for the holidays. Many businesses are planning to close early this year and stay closed until after the New Year. Be prepared to make sure your holiday cards and gifts arrive in time for the message to be enjoyed. Year-end mail dates:
- Standard Class, Flats or Packages: December 1st
- Nationwide First Class Mail: December 11th
- Regional First Class Mail: December 14th
Shipping Larger Gifts, Packages, or Parcels
While our go-to mailer is always the USPS, we do recognize that UPS and other package shippers have a necessary role in our businesses. And while the postal service is a reliable and affordable service we think it is worth knowing your options when it comes to shipping packages this year. Here are the recommended shipping dates if your goal is to get holiday cards or gifts delivered by Christmas Eve, December 24th.
Priority Express Mail: Next Day Delivery December 23rd
Priority Mail: Arrival in 1 – 3 days December 19th
Retail Ground: Arrival in 2 – 8 days December 15th
Next Day Air: December 23rd
2 Day Air: December 22nd
3 Day Select Service: December 21st
Ground: 2-8 days December 15th
Overnight Service: December 23rd
2Day Service: December 22nd
Express Saver: December 21st
Ground & Home: 2-8 days December 15th
FedEx SmartPost: 4-14 days December 9th
When considering your shipper, particularly for multiple packages, keep in mind how easy it is to ship and track those packages. It is also important to note how undeliverable packages might be handled in case someone is not available to accept delivery.
***Interested in learning more about the estimated capacity vs demand for shipping this year, check out this article we found at the Wall Street Journal.
Need more information about holiday cards and gifts? Watch out for our next blog outlining what kinds of gifts and messaging to put in those packages this year. We know you are going to love the ideas we have ready for you!
Located in the creative Crossroads Arts District, AlphaGraphics Kansas City is a certified Women-Owned business that specializes in helping Kansas City businesses solve marketing problems. The printing company’s production specialties include custom digital color and large format printing.
For further information about AlphaGraphics Kansas City and their capabilities, contact the AGKC team at 816-842-4200 or visit their website, AlphaGraphics KC.