Whether you’re ready or not, the holiday season is fast approaching. The crisp chill in the air is evidence of the change from the dog days of summer to the frantic shopping season ahead.


Shoppers spend countless hours finding the perfect gift and waiting for it to be delivered or enduring the long lines in shopping malls. Regardless of how or where you do your holiday shopping, the recipient has to receive the gift somehow.


HONESDALE- Whether you’re ready or not, the holiday season is fast approaching. The crisp chill in the air is evidence of the change from the dog days of summer to the frantic shopping season ahead.

Shoppers spend countless hours finding the perfect gift and waiting for it to be delivered or enduring the long lines in shopping malls. Regardless of how or where you do your holiday shopping, the recipient has to receive the gift somehow.

Throughout the years, families move apart but the holidays are a time to close that gap by sending cards or presents across the country, or even the world.

If you choose to send your gift internationally via the Post Office, mailing dates have been established to ensure your package makes the journey safely and on-time. There is also a list of requirements for your package to ensure that it can, in fact, be mailed overseas,

According to the USPS website, stamped packages weighing over 13 ounces should be put in an unattended location. “Blue collection box, lobby drop” and  “Automated Postal Center Drop” sites are all considered unattended locations. If your package is placed in any of the locations, it will either not be picked up or returned to the sender.

To make sure the package is delivered properly, if it meets the previous requirements please take it to me mailed at a Post Office near you.

As much as you would like to send a bottle of your favorite local libation to a friend in Paris, you cannot do so using the Postal Service. You also cannot mail “smokeless tobacco, cigarettes, prescription drugs or handguns.”

Other items considered hazardous materials for mailing are nail polish, perfumes and paints.

Customs forms are usually necessary to send a package internationally, with the exception of First-Class Mail

International items and Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelopes “that weigh less than 16 oz., are no more than 0.25 inches thick and which contain only documents.”

What forms will need to accompany the package depend on the value of the contents being shipped and the country to which the package is being shipped.

If you have a brave service man or woman spending this holiday season overseas, there are specific requirements for international military mailing.

An important change to the requirements is you must address the package to a specific service member using their full name.

“Addressing mail to ‘Any Service Member’ is no longer permitted,” the website states.

Be sure to include the unit and APO/FPO/DPO address; include the nine-digit zip code if there is none assigned.
The military mailing restrictions list obscene articles or pork or pork by-products among the items not suitable for military mailing. It is also recommended your package be able to withstand extreme heat, as “desert temperatures typically exceed 100 degrees.”

The Postal Service announced the suggested holiday mailing dates for international and military mailing. To ensure delivery of holiday cards and packages by Dec. 25 to military APO/FPO addresses and to international addresses, it’s suggested that you try to mail your items by the dates provided.

For example, if you wish to mail a package by Parcel Post, to  APO/FPO/DPO AP zips 962-966; the package must be mailed by Nov. 12 to be received by Dec. 25.

The complete list of mailing dates is available at your local Post Office or by visiting http://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2011/pr11_115.htm.

If you have a question regarding if an item is accepted for international mailing, call 1-800-ASK-USPS or ask your local post office for clarification.