Below are the 2012 recommended USEUCOM holiday mail deadline dates for postal customers assigned to the European theater of operations.  These dates are for mail originating in Europe and destined to locations in the United States.  Stateside mailers sending letters and packages to European APO/FPO/DPO addresses use similar deadline dates.

» Nov. 26
» Dec. 3
» Dec. 10
» Dec. 10
» Dec. 18

“USAFE postal patrons should plan ahead and mail early to ensure their letters, cards, and packages arrive to their intended U.S. destinations in time for the holidays,” said Lionel Rivera, U.S. Air Forces in Europe/Air Force Africa Postal branch public affairs officer.  “Customers can avoid the historical long lines at the post office when they mail early and can take advantage of using the cheaper, although slower, space available mail service military post offices offer in Europe.”
Space available mail service takes longer to arrive to end destination and moves on a space available basis once it arrives in the states.  If you want faster service, consider using priority mail or express mail military service. It costs more but these classes of mail get preferred and or expedited service. 

Note, some USAFE APOs do not offer EMMS.  Almost all mail accepted at military post offices in Europe is flown to the United States on commercial aircraft.  Once mail arrives stateside, depending on the service you selected, it’s transported based on the service you paid for. 

“Keep in mind, packages transiting through the mail stream are handled numerous times, therefore proper packaging is very important,” said Rivera.
The below mailing tips are provided to help ensure packages arrive safely and undamaged.

USPS Mailing Tips

• Print addresses clearly (Print or type clearly with a pen or permanent marker).  Avoid commas, period, or other punctuation — it helps your mailpiece speed through USPS automated processing equipment.

• Include all address elements (apartment numbers, suite numbers, directional information for streets, etc.).

• Put the delivery and return addresses on only one side of the package.

• Select a box that is strong enough to protect the contents.  Leave space for cushioning inside the carton.

• Package contents with shredded or rolled newspaper, bubble wrap, or Styrofoam peanuts.  Plain air-popped popcorn is also good for cushioning; it’s inexpensive and environmentally friendly.  Pack tightly to avoid shifting.

• Always use tape that is designed for shipping, such as pressure-sensitive tape, nylon-reinforced tape, paper tape, or glass-reinforced pressure-sensitive tape.

• Stuff glass and fragile hollow items, like vases, with newspaper or packing material to avoid damage due to shock.  When mailing framed photographs, take the glass out of the frame and wrap it separately.

• Remove alkaline batteries from toys and other electronic items. 

• Do not use gift wrapping paper, string, masking tape, or cellophane tape.

• Place an index card inside the package that contains the sender’s address and the recipient’s address along with a list of the contents.  This will help postal employees to re-pack boxes that were improperly wrapped and came apart during transport ensuring that the package is either sent to its destination or back to the sender.

• Use Express Mail and Priority Mail boxes, envelopes, and tubes your post office provides.

Contact your local postmaster for additional information on how mail is dispatched
and received at your location, and for advice on the best service to use based on your mailing needs.

(Courtesy of USAFE/Air Force Africa Postal Branch)