Although Christmas is still over a month away, it is not too soon to begin holiday shopping and shipping.
In fact, the United States Postal Service recommends that Alaskans send packages as soon as Dec. 2 to guarantee a Dec. 25 arrival. Coupled with supply chain issues related to the pandemic, it is important to both buy and mail packages earlier than normal.
According to USPS recommended 2021 holiday shipping dates, Alaskans who plan to send packages to the Lower 48 should send items by USPS Retail Ground Service by Dec. 2; Dec. 18 for First Class and Priority Mail; and Dec. 21 for Priority Mail Express.
This year there are also supply chain disruptions, which have made many products — from food to snowmachines — scarce. This means that shoppers should get an especially early start to make sure that the gifts they plan to order are still in stock.
Despite the pandemic, USPS is confident that, with the lessons learned from last year, they will be able to deliver packages on time.
“The unprecedented stress of the Covid-19 pandemic deeply affected our employees and our network,” reads a statement from USPS. However, the post continues, USPS learned from the 2020 holiday season and made changes “across the organization” that improve their ability to process and deliver packages.
“The use of predictive data gives us the ability to avoid bottlenecks and to process breakdowns. We can respond more effectively to volume fluctuations, deploy our staff more efficiently and ensure our vehicles are fully operational and handled safely,” according to USPS.
All post offices will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Post offices will resume normal hours on Nov. 26, Dec. 27 and Jan. 3, 2022.
The downtown Fairbanks post office is open Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The college location is open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. and the Fairbanks main office post office is open from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays.
For FedEx, the deadline for Alaska ground shipping is Dec. 15. UPS did not have Alaska specific deadlines.