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Kokua Line: Christmas mail-by date moved up this year, amid crush of pandemic-era postal shipping

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Question: Are the Christmas shipping dates earlier this year because of the pandemic?

Answer: Yes, the suggested mail-by date for First Class and Priority mail from Hawaii to the continental United States is Dec. 15, four days earlier than last year, according to the U.S. Postal Service.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has added an unpredictable X factor into the shipping equation. The increase in customers ordering cleaning supplies, protective equipment and household items online created what has basically been an eight-month-long Christmas rush here at USPS. Consequently, we want to encourage our customers to ship their Christmas packages as soon as possible this year, in order to give those packages the greatest chance of arriving at their intended destinations before Dec. 25,” said Duke Gonzales, an agency spokesman in Honolulu. “We don’t have any control over the weather or the spread of the virus. But, we can and will commit to processing and delivering every package as soon as it’s received and to making every effort to deliver a happy holiday for our customers.”

Here are the recommended mail-by dates from Hawaii for First Class, Priority, and Priority Express mail, respectively, to various regions:

>> To U.S. mainland: Dec. 15, Dec. 15, Dec. 21

>> Within Hawaii: Dec. 19, Dec. 19, Dec. 21

>> To Guam and Saipan: Dec. 11, Dec. 11, Dec. 18

>> To American Samoa: Dec. 4, Dec. 4, Dec. 14

>> To military APOs and FPOs: Dec. 4, Dec. 4, Dec. 14

>> To other international addresses: Dec. 4, Dec. 4, Dec. 14

Customers who don’t want to stand in line at the post office to mail their packages can create an account on to use the Click-N-Ship option, which allows customers to pay for postage, print mailing labels and alert their mail carrier to pick up the package for shipping.

Another option is to use a self-service kiosk. Those are open 24/7 at select post offices statewide. Be forewarned that package drop bins may fill up after hours. USPS says self-service kiosks are available at the following Hawaii post offices: Aina Haina, Downtown, Hawaii Kai, Hilo Main, Honolulu Main/Airport, Kailua, Kailua- Kona, Kaneohe, Kapahulu Safeway, Kihei, Lahaina, Makiki, Mililani, Waialae- Kahala, Waikiki and Wailuku.

Operation Santa

For the first time in the history of the program, children throughout Hawaii can participate in the Postal Service’s Operation Santa project, which matches needy children with volunteers who make Christmas wishes come true.

Letters will be accepted until Dec. 15. Kids may write a letter to Santa and mail it to Santa Claus at 123 Elf Road, North Pole 88888. Be sure the envelope has proper postage and includes a return address. Requests should be specific, naming a toy or giving the size, style and color of desired apparel, for examples. The child should include their name and return address in the letter as well.

Starting Friday, donors can log on to uspsoperationsanta .com to “adopt” a letter and fill in for Santa. Letters can be filtered by state, so Hawaii gift-givers may help youngsters in the community.

There’s a verification process for prospective gift-givers to ensure the privacy and safety of the recipients, according to the program’s FAQs.


The way the state is treating its own residents is a travesty. There has to be a better solution for returning residents who don’t get their test results in time. Changing the rules in the middle of the game is unfair! — Reader

(You are one of many who have called and emailed Kokua Line to complain about Gov. David Ige’s emergency order, effective Nov. 24, requiring travelers have a negative COVID-19 test result in hand before boarding their flight to Hawaii, or quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. Previously, a traveler could exit quarantine once their test result arrived, as long as it was negative.)

Write to Kokua Line at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email

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