Officials with the U.S. Postal Service say important holiday shipping deadlines are approaching.

Priority and first-class packages going overseas to family, friends and military members need to be in the mail by Monday to ensure delivery by December 24. Regional postal spokesperson David Rupert says it’s critical that all holiday care packages be labeled clearly and secured properly prior to being shipped.

"Package it up good – there are a lot of packages in the system, so wrap it up good and address it with a non-smudging marker,” Rupert said. “I just want you to know that we’re ready, our employees are ready and we welcome your mail for this holiday season."

Rupert says the USPS will process 18 billion pieces of mail this month.

Upcoming holiday mail deadlines:

  • Dec. 10: Priority and first-class APO/FPO military mail not going to Afghanistan.
  • Dec. 10: International first-class and Priority Mail.
  • Dec. 14: U.S. ground packages.
  • Dec. 17: Express overseas military mail.
  • Dec. 19: Global express mail to most destinations.
  • Dec. 20: All cards and letters.
  • Dec. 21: Priority mail.
  • Dec. 22: Express mail.