MIAMI (CBSMiami) – As part of the holiday season hubbub, the mailing of Christmas and Hanukkah cards and gifts is just as important as shopping but it sometimes gets put off until the last-minute.

The U.S. Postal Service said between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day they will deliver 17.9 billion cards, letters and packages.

On December 17th, which they said will be the busiest mailing day of the year, they expect to process approximately 658 million pieces of mail. December 19th will be the busiest delivery day of the year. The Post Office will use about 170,000 vehicles to transport and deliver holiday mail.

This year they expect to handle 29.9 million pounds of mail bound for overseas military installations.

If you haven’t written out your cards or even started shopping yet, you have some time if you plan to mail your items to friends or family in the U.S. If you’re mailing stuff overseas, not so much.

Monday, December 3rd, is the mail by date for Christmas cards and packages sent by Priority Mail International. For those using Express Mail International, the male by date is December 11th.

For those sending items to family members or friends serving in the military, December 10th is the deadline for sending items by First Class Mail or Priority Mail. December 17th is the last day to ship for those using Express Mail Military Service.

If you plan to send a package parcel post in the U.S., the last day to get it in the mail if you to make sure it arrives on time is December 14th.

The last day to mail Christmas cards or gifts is December 20th for First Class Mail, December 21st for Priority Mail and December 22nd for Express Mail.

More than 242 million people are expected to visit a Post Office during the holidays.


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