U.S. Postal Service officials predict the busiest days for holiday mailing will be during the week of Dec. 16, but volume will increase starting Monday.

Getting a head start on mail can save time. Here are the last dates to send mail and have it delivered before Christmas:

• Dec. 14 — USPS retail ground

• Dec. 20 — First-class mail (including greeting cards)

• Dec. 20 — First-class packages (up to 15.99 ounces)

• Dec. 21 — Priority mail

• Dec. 23 — Priority mail express (not guaranteed)

If you plan on sending mail to a member of the military (DOD) or Foreign Service (DOS), plan on sending your packages on or before the dates listed below.

• Dec. 9 — DOD/DOS (ZIP code 093 [Iraq and Afghanistan] only) priority mail and first-class mail

• Dec. 11 — DOD/DOS (all other ZIP codes) priority mail and first-class mail

• Dec. 18 — DOD/DOS (except ZIP code 093) USPS priority mail express

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