U.S. Shipping Deadlines for Christmas Approach


A woman prepares a package for shipping | Image by Shutterstock

Though Christmas is about a month away, shoppers should think ahead if they want their gifts to arrive on time. Post offices and private carriers are approaching their busiest time of year, and shoppers should watch out for some shipping deadlines approaching this month.

Planning will also ensure that shoppers can make timely online purchases and expedite the shipping, which can be very expensive.

Some shippers will offer special services around the holidays. USPS states that “Sunday and holiday delivery [is] available in many major markets for an additional fee.”

UPS states they are closed on Christmas Day, but UPS Express Critical is still available. UPS Express Critical “provides a broad range of urgent transportation options ranging from lightweight to heavyweight shipments around the world.”

Like UPS, FedEx is closed on Christmas Day but open for Custom Critical shipping and has modified service for SameDay City shipping.

For ground shipping, the cheapest option, shoppers should finish their online purchases by mid-December. For FedEx, to get a package delivered via ground delivery by Christmas, shoppers must order it by December 14. Packages shipping through USPS have until December 17, and UPS recommends getting a personalized estimate on their website.

Gifts ordered online through a retailer have varying deadlines for Christmas shipping. Many will have a website display letting consumers know when it will be too late.

The following are the deadlines for delivery by Christmas Day.

For USPS: Retail Ground – Dec. 17; First-Class Mail – Dec. 17; Priority Mail – Dec. 19; Priority Mail Express – Dec. 23.

For FedEx: Ground Economy – Dec. 8; Home Delivery and Ground – Dec. 14; Express Saver and 3-Day Freight – Dec. 20; 2-Day – Dec. 21; 1-Day – Dec. 22; Same Day – Dec. 23.

For UPS: Ground – TBD on the website; 3-Day Select – Dec. 20; 2-Day Air – Dec. 21; Next Day Air – Dec. 22.

Packages going to another country, Alaska, or Hawaii, may have different deadlines.

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