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Here are the USPS deadlines to ensure your gifts arrive in time

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USPS holiday shipping dates

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Dec. 15, 2015)– It’s that time of year: long lines at the post office. Across the country, letters and packages are being shipped with hopes for delivery in time for Christmas. Monday officially kicks off the shipping season with the biggest day of the year for mailing presents.

“I’ve got goodies, treats, toys, I’m sending to my nieces and nephews and friends in different cities,” said Carol Taylor, who stood in line Tuesday at the New Augusta Post Office to ship a handful of boxes. “I’ve learned to get it done as soon as I can, because I know it’s going to be even more crowded then.”

Taylor says she’s learned from the past to plan ahead for shipping Christmas presents. Smart thinking because the shipping season is about to speed up.

“Today is the busiest mailing day of the year, at least that’s what the postal service has projected,” said Mary Dando, spokeswoman for the USPS for the Indianapolis area. “We’re also projecting that we will get over 7 million people going to our website.”

USPS estimates more than 15.5 billion letters and packages will be delivered this holiday season. That’s a 10 percent increase over last year.

Whether you stand in line or click online, the advice is to start early.

“We enjoy this season, it is our season,” said Dando. “And that goal is to get all those letters and cars and packages home by the holidays.”

With 11 days before Christmas, post offices in our area and all around the country are now open seven days a week to get those packages there on time.

December 15 is the last day for Standard Post. Saturday, December 19, is the last day for First Class Mail. Monday is the last call for Priority Mail. The cut off for Priority Mail Express is December 23.

As for that delivery date, Monday, Dec. 21 will be the biggest delivery day. The USPS says to register on their website to track deliveries and protect from stolen packages.

“Our goal is to make sure that you get the delivery,” said Dando. “The most important thing is to ship early.”

That’s certainly something Carol Taylor knows well.

“Get it down as soon as you can if you want it to get there for Christmas,” said Taylor. “Get it done as soon as you can.”