Holiday Shipping Deadlines Near for USPS, FedEx, UPS

A UPS step van on the street A UPS step van on the streets delivering packages in Louisville. (John Sommers II for Transport Topics)

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The holidays can be stressful enough without worrying about whether your package will arrive in time.

The United States Postal Service sees an influx of mail during the holiday season, delivering more than 28 million packages per day between Dec. 16-21 in 2019, while the postal service typically only delivers about 20 million per day throughout the rest of the year, according to the USPS.

We looked into the most popular options for shipping packages to find out more about free boxes and shipping supplies, special shipping deadlines and cutoff dates and times, pickup and drop-off options and locations, holiday hours, and closures:



U.S. Postal Service

Boxes and shipping supplies: USPS customers can order free shipping supplies online or pick them up for free at any post office.

A USPS truck

A USPS truck on an interstate off ramp in Jacksonville, Fla. (Larry Smith/Trans Pixs)

Shipping deadlines: USPS customers who are shipping holiday packages within the United States are encouraged to send packages by these deadlines to have them delivered by Dec. 24:

  • USPS Retail Ground Service and First-Class Mail Service — Dec. 17
  • Priority Mail Service — Dec. 19
  • Priority Mail Express Service — Dec. 23

Pickup and drop-off options: Packages can be dropped off at a post office or a USPS collection box to be mailed, but if you would like to have USPS pick up a package at a specific location, enter your location online on the USPS website to see if it is eligible and schedule a pickup.

Holiday hours: On Dec. 24 and Dec. 31 the USPS will have special holiday hours. Check your local post office for holiday hours on these days. Mail will be delivered these days, and mail in USPS collection boxes will be picked up earlier than usual. The USPS recommends dropping off mail before noon in collection boxes.

Closures: USPS Post Offices will be closed on Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. Mail in collection boxes will not be collected on these days, and no mail or packages will be delivered.

FedEx

As the holiday season is known for shipping delays and an increased amount of mail, FedEx is encouraging customers to “shop and ship confidently” as the shipping company assures it is ready for the holiday rush, in an October 2022 press release.

The FedEx Corp. shipping center in Chicago

Packages move along conveyor belts at the FedEx Corp. shipping center in Chicago. (Christopher Dilts/Bloomberg News)

For those planning to mail holiday packages through FedEx, here’s what to know:

Boxes and shipping supplies: FedEx customers can purchase shipping boxes and supplies online, as well as order free FedEx Express shipping materials to be delivered to their home.

Shipping deadlines: FedEx customers who are mailing holiday packages should send mail by these deadlines to have them delivered by Dec. 24:

  • Ground Economy and Freight Economy — Dec. 8
  • Ground Contiguous U.S., Ground Alaska and Hawaii, Home Delivery Contiguous U.S., Home Delivery Alaska and Hawaii, FedEx Freight Priority and FedEx Freight Direct — Dec. 14
  • FedEx Express Saver and FedEx 3Day Freight — Dec. 20
  • 2Day, 2Day AM and FedEx 2Day Freight — Dec. 21
  • FO, PO, SO, Extra Hours and FedEx 1Day Freight — Dec. 22
  • FedEx SameDay — Dec. 23

Pickup and drop-off options: FedEx packages can be picked up and dropped off at select FedEx stores, FedEx shipping centers, Walgreens and Dollar General Stores. If you would like the package picked up from a specific location, enter your location online to schedule a pick up.

Holiday hours: FedEx will be continuing certain mailing services throughout the holiday season, including Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. Customers can view the holiday service schedule for each mailing service online.

RoadSigns

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Closures: Some FedEx mailing services will continue, even on Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. To check if your local FedEx store will be open to drop off a package, check your local store’s hours online.

UPS

Boxes and shipping supplies: Customers can purchase shipping materials and boxes online to be delivered to their home, including free UPS Holiday Express Envelopes.

Shipping deadlines: In order for your package to be delivered anywhere in the United States by Dec. 24, UPS recommends these shipping deadlines:

  • UPS Ground Shipping — calculate your shipping deadline online.
  • UPS 3 Day Select — Dec. 20
  • UPS 2nd Day Air — Dec. 21
  • UPS Next Day Air- Dec. 22

Pickup and drop-off options: Customers can schedule package pick-ups at their eligible locations online. UPS also offers multiple package drop-off options such as UPS Stores, UPS Access Points, UPS Drop Boxes and UPS Customer Centers that can be located online.

Holiday hours: Check your local UPS store holiday hours online. On Dec. 24, UPS will have normal delivery services, but pick-up services will be limited.

Closures: No UPS services will run on Dec. 25, Jan. 1 and Jan. 2.

UPS, FedEx and the United States Postal Service rank Nos. 1, 2 and 4, respectively, on the Transport Topics Top 50 list of the largest global freight companies. UPS and FedEx rank Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America.

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