Deadlines for Delivering Holiday Care Packages to Your Servicemembers

Deadlines for Delivering the Holidays to Your Servicemembers

U.S. Postal Service Recommended Mailing Dates

From USPS: “The holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year, but many people miss loved ones who are stationed overseas as military or diplomatic members. While the holidays are a hard time to be away from home, the U.S. Postal Service makes it a priority that those serving their country will receive their presents, care packages and cards in time for the holidays — no matter where they may be.”



To send packages to loved ones serving in the military abroad, the Postal Service offers a discounted price of $17.35 on its largest Priority Mail Flat Rate Box.

The price includes a $1.50 per box discount for mail sent to APO/FPO/DPO (Air/Army Post Office/Fleet Post Office/Diplomatic Post Office) destinations worldwide.

Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes are available at no cost at local Post Offices and online at Postage, labels and customs forms can be printed online anytime using Click-N-Ship at

To ensure timely delivery of holiday wishes by Dec. 25, the Postal Service recommends that cards and packages be sent to military APO/FPO/DPO addresses overseas no later than the mailing dates listed below.

Military Mail Addressed 

To and From

Priority Mail Express Military Service (PMEMS)1 First-Class Mail




Priority Mail Parcel Airlift Mail (PAL)2 Space Available

Mail (SAM)3

USPS Retail Ground
APO/FPO/DPO AE ZIPs 014-092 Dec 16 Dec 11 Dec 11 Dec 4 Nov 27 Nov 06
APO/FPO/DPO AE ZIP   093 N/A Dec 4 Dec 4 Dec 4 Nov 27 Nov 06
APO/FPO/DPO AE ZIPs 094-098 Dec 16 Dec 11 Dec 11 Dec 4 Nov 27 Nov 06
APO/FPO/DPO AA ZIP   340 Dec 16 Dec 11 Dec 11 Dec 4 Nov 27 Nov 06
APO/FPO/DPO AP ZIPs 962-966 Dec 16 Dec 11 Dec 11 Dec 4 Nov 27 Nov 06

1 PMEMS is available to selected military/diplomatic Post Offices. Check with your local Post Office to determine if this service is available to an APO/FPO/DPO address.

2 PAL is a service that provides air transportation for parcels on a space-available basis. PAL is available for Standard Post items not exceeding 30 pounds in weight or 60 inches in length and girth combined. The applicable PAL fee must be paid in addition to the regular surface price for each addressed piece sent by PAL service.

3 SAM parcels are paid at Standard Post prices with maximum weight and size limits of 15 pounds and 60 inches in length and girth combined. SAM parcels are first transported domestically by surface and then to overseas destinations by air on a space-available basis.

Use the Military Care Kit to Send Presents and Care Packages 

The Postal Service has created a free Military Care Kit based on the items most frequently requested by military families. The kit contains:

  • Two Priority Mail APO/FPO/DPO Flat Rate Boxes
  • Two Priority Mail Medium Flat Rate Boxes
  • Priority Mail tape
  • Priority Mail address labels
  • Appropriate customs forms

To order the kit, call 800-610-8734. Guidelines for packing, addressing and shipping items to U.S. troops can be found To order Flat-Rate Boxes featuring the “America Supports You” logo, go to

Addressing the Package

  • Write the service member’s full name
  • Include the unit and APO/FPO/DPO address with the 9-digit ZIP Code (if one is assigned). For example:

Army/Air Post Office (APO)

PSC 3 BOX 4120
APO AE 09021

Fleet Post Office (FPO)

UNIT 100100 BOX 4120
FPO AP 96691

Diplomatic Post Office (DPO)

UNIT 8400 BOX 0000
DPO AE 09498-0048

  • Do not write the country name where the service member is stationed in the address
  • Include a return address
  • Inside the box, include the service member’s name and address as well as the sender’s name and address on an index card in case the shipping label gets damaged in transit

Domestic mailing deadlines are as follows: 

Standard Post First-Class Mail Priority Mail Priority Mail Express
Dec 14 Dec 19 Dec 20 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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