Holiday Shipping Deadlines Loom for Delivery by Christmas

Those same-day and express services cost more, so get your packages ready early to be shipped on time and within your family's budget.

Here Are Your 2013 Holiday Mailing Deadlines. File | Patch
Here Are Your 2013 Holiday Mailing Deadlines. File | Patch

Better have that package ready by Saturday if you want it to make it to its destination by Christmas and plan to send it by standard post via the U.S. Postal Service, or via FedEx's SmartPost service. But if you use Priority Mail Express, you can send it out as late as Dec. 23.

FedEx allows you to ship even on Chirstmas Day with its Same Day service, but most consumers will want to ship no later than Dec. 23 through FedEx Overnight, Priority Overnight or FedEx First Overnight.

FedEx Ground shipments need to be made by Tuesday, Dec. 17, to get there in time to be put under the Christmas tree.

Big Brown has its own holiday schedules, but the deadine day to remember for UPS is Monday, Dec. 23. That's your last chance to ship a package to arrive in time for Christmas. UPS Next Day Air packages will be delivered on Christmas Eve.

To get a UPS 2nd Day Air package delivered in time for Christmas, you'll have to head to The UPS Store by Saturday, Dec. 21.

The busiest mailing day of this holiday season is expected to be Monday, Dec. 16, when the U.S. Postal Services expects to process more than 600 million pieces of mail. The remaining days of the holiday season will be heavy volume times as well, because people send cards and packages. Get those Christmas cards mailed by Dec. 20 or your holiday greetings will come after the big day.

USPS Mail By Dates
To ensure that holiday mail and packages are delivered on time, the Postal Service recommends keeping these mailing and shipping deadlines in mind:

  • Dec. 14  Standard Post
  • Dec. 14  Priority Mail Express International
  • Dec. 16  Global Express Guaranteed
  • Dec. 17  Priority Mail Express Military Service
  • Dec. 20  First-Class Mail
  • Dec. 21  Priority Mail
  • Dec. 23  Priority Mail Express


FedEx Delivery Dates

  • Dec. 12 SmartPost
  • Dec. 17 Ground, Home Delivery
  • Dec. 19 Express Saver
  • Dec. 21 2Day, 2Day A.M.
  • Dec. 23 First Overnight, Priority Overnight, Standard Overnight
  • Dec. 25 SameDay


UPS Holiday Deadlines

  • Dec. 21 2nd Day Air
  • Dec. 23 Next Day Air

Guarantees for UPS Ground and 3 Day Select are suspended for the holiday shipping season, so allow more than the 5 days or 3 business days respectively.

Shipping & Mailing Tips

The U.S. Postal Service will deliver 15 billion pieces of mail during the holidays, so its workers were bound to have some tips. Most of these should work for other shipping companies as well:

Confirm addresses. Print addresses clearly and in all CAPS and be sure to include all address elements — apartment numbers, suite numbers and directional information for streets. For example: 123 S. Main St. or 12456 Elm St. N. Include both “to” and “from” information on packages — and only on one side. Never guess a ZIP Code. Visit usps.com to find all ZIP codes.

Choose the Right Box. Select a box that is strong enough to protect the contents. Leave space for cushioning inside. Do not reuse mailing boxes — they weaken in the shipping process.

Customers can purchase ReadyPost boxes at a local Post Office or at the Postal Store on usps.com. Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express boxes, envelopes and tubes are free.

Pack Delicately. Cushion contents with shredded or rolled newspaper, bubble wrap or foam peanuts. Plain air-popped popcorn also is good for cushioning — it’s inexpensive and environmentally friendly. Pack contents tightly to avoid shifting during transit. Use pressure-sensitive tape, nylon-reinforced craft paper tape or glass-reinforced pressure-sensitive tape for shipping. Do not use wrapping paper, string, masking tape, duct tape or cellophane tape.


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