USPS Just Announced These Surprising December and January Closures

It might seem like the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is handling our mail 24/7. But despite its federal obligation to maintain regular service, the USPS doesn't run nonstop deliveries, nor does it open post offices every day—as anyone who has tried to buy stamps on a Sunday knows all too well. Sometimes the agency is forced to suspend services in particular places, while other times, it pauses operations across the entire U.S. Now, the Postal Service has announced some holiday closures, and the dates might surprise you. Read on to find out when the USPS is shutting down in December and January.

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The Postal Service typically shutters several days every year.

The USPS has closed post offices across the U.S. this year for various reasons, from fire damage to hazardous hurricanes. But while these closures only impact residents in certain areas, the agency also suspends services nationally several days every year.

The USPS typically recognizes 10 federal holidays annually, stopping all deliveries and closing all post offices on these days. In 2022, the agency even added added a new closure to its list: Juneteenth. The Postal Service announced earlier this year that it would close all post offices and suspend regular mail delivery across the country in observance of Juneteenth, which President Joe Biden made an official federal holiday on June 19 in 2021.

Now, there's another holiday shake-up on the horizon.

The agency just announced surprising holiday post office closures.

In line with its typical observance of federal holidays, the USPS usually closes up shop completely on Christmas Day and New Year's Day. But this year, both of these holidays fall on Sunday, "when Post Office locations nationwide are already closed," the Postal Service explained in a Dec. 1 news release.

As a result, the agency is closing all post offices "for the observation of both federal holidays" on the following Mondays: Dec. 26 and Jan. 2.

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Most deliveries will also be suspended on these days.

It's not only post offices that will be closed on these days, however. According to the USPS, there will also be "no residential or business deliveries" made on Dec. 26 and Jan. 2 in observance of the (belated) Christmas Day and New Year's Day federal holidays. "All Post Office locations will be open for business and regular mail delivery will resume after the holidays on Tuesday, Dec. 27 and Tuesday, Jan. 3," the Postal Service said in its news release.

But there is one exception to the suspension of deliveries on these two days: Priority Mail Express. According to the USPS, these packages are "delivered 365 days a year in select locations for an additional fee" on top of the existing cost of this premium mailing service.

"Priority Mail Express is the fastest mail service offered by the Postal Service. It provides guaranteed 1-Day or 2-Day expedited service by 3 p.m. for any mailable matter," the agency explains on its website. "If available at the destination location, delivery by 10:30 a.m. or Sunday or holiday delivery may be purchased at an additional charge."

USPS warns customers to check post office hours during the holidays.

The Postal Service is only planning full closures on Dec. 26 and Jan. 2 during this winter holiday season. But the agency is warning customers that hours might be different at their local post office on certain days, even when it's open. "Some Post Offices may have extended hours leading up to the holidays," the USPS explained in its news release.

In particular, some post offices might have "limited hours" of service on Dec. 24 for Christmas Eve, but the Postal Service said there are "currently no plans for limited hours" on Dec. 31, New Year's Eve. "Customers are advised to always check with their local Post Office for hours of operation," the agency added.

The USPS also noted in its news release that customers may want to take note of any potential changes with pickup times for blue collection boxes during the holidays. According to the agency, early closures on Dec. 24 will not affect collection boxes that normally have final collection times before noon. For those with a normal pickup time after noon, however, mail might get picked up earlier on that day.