Here’s What You Need to Know About Holiday Shipping Deadlines

John Taggart/Bloomberg News

It’s only just the start of December — you’ve got plenty of time to get those presents in the mail before Christmas, right? Be careful. Time races during the holidays, but delivery deadlines for the major shipping services don’t waver.

Here’s what you need to know to get things to their destinations on time:


Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News 

Going traditional, with the U.S. Postal Service? Christmas Eve is on a Sunday this year, so the last day of regular mail delivery before Christmas is Dec. 23. Get your first class cards and packages in the mail by Dec. 19 for on-time arrival. The Postal Service has higher-cost options like Priority Mail for slackers. See the deadlines here.

Dec. 18 is the last day to use UPS 3-Day Select delivery and have your package arrive on time. The company’s website says no pick up or delivery on Dec. 24 or 25. More options are here.

FedEx will offer several delivery services on Dec. 23, and with FedEx SameDay service, you can ship on Christmas Day. But it will cost you. Find more details here.


David Paul Morris/Bloomberg News 

And to go down to the wire, there’s always Amazon Prime, right? Free two-day, sometimes even same-day delivery. Amazon says Dec. 22 is the deadline for free two-day Prime shipping. For a non-Prime member who still wants free shipping, the deadline pushes all the way back to Dec. 15.

For the real procrastinators, if your city and items are eligible for Amazon one-day shipping, you can order by 9:30 a.m. on Dec. 24 and still be in grandma’s good graces. More Amazon deadlines here.

UPS ranks No. 1 and FedEx No. 2 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest North American for-hire carriers.

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