For regular Parcel Post you need to get your packages in the mail by mid-November! Start early, or, use Priority Mail (recommended by me!) Mail to Baghdad is pretty good now, but if you are mailing to Afghanistan it will take much longer. If you want to send decorations the troops can use for a couple of weeks before any holidays, remember to allow time for that.
I encourage all packages to be shipped by Thanksgiving week even with Priority Mail. Chaplains sometimes want to hand goodies out at parties and religious services which often take place early.
Speaking of holidays: it's not too late to send Thanksgiving cards now.
Below is a partial chart:
MILITARY MAILING DEADLINES
|Military Mail |
|Express Mail® Military Service (EMMS)1/||First-Class Mail® |
Letters and Cards
|Priority Mail®||Parcel Airlift Mail (PAL) 2/||Space Available Mail (SAM)3/||Parcel Post®|
|APO/FPO AE ZIPs 090-092||Dec-18||Dec-11||Dec-11||Dec-4||Nov-28||Nov-13|
|APO/FPO AE ZIP 093||N/A||Dec-4||Dec-4||Dec-1||Nov-21||Nov-13|
|APO/FPO AE ZIPs 094-098||Dec-18||Dec-11||Dec-11||Dec-4||Nov-28||Nov-13|
|APO/FPO AA ZIP 340||Dec-18||Dec-11||Dec-11||Dec-4||Nov-28||Nov-13|
|APO/FPO AP ZIPs 962-966||Dec-18||Dec-11||Dec-11||Dec-4||Nov-28||Nov-13|
The USPS offers free boxes for Priority Mail and a discount on shipping to Army Post Office (APO) addresses. See the link above for more details.
It is important to keep your packages well taped, professional looking, and neat. If your return address is not nice and clear the package will be thrown away for security reasons.
Do not put cute stickers or decorations on the packages as it may encourage theft.
Get your Customs Declaration forms ahead of time to make them easier to fill in.