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USPS, FedEx and UPS holiday shipping deadlines to know

Posted November 28, 2021 10:26 a.m. EST
Updated December 17, 2021 7:18 a.m. EST

Retailers are urging customers to finish their holiday shopping early this year. Supply chain issues and a worker shortage means that gifts will take longer to arrive at your doorstep if you are ordering them online.

The National Retail Federation predicts that 2021 will have the highest holiday retail sales on record. Holiday sales are expected to increase around 10% from 2020 to 2021.

Popular brands like Adidas, Crocs and Hasboro have already warned that there could be shortages going into the holiday season.

Items with computer chips — like laptops, smart watches or kitchen appliances — could also not be available if you try to order them late this year.

Amazon shipping tips

One of the world's largest online retailers, Amazon, has not yet released information on holiday shipping deadlines. To make sure that your gift will arrive in time, it's best to check the fine print and see who is shipping your product.

The item will either be sold and shipped by Amazon, be sold by a third-party business and shipped by Amazon, or be sold and shipped by a third party.

On average, Amazon says it will take 4 to 5 days to deliver a package to your doorstep. For Amazon Prime customers, the retailer guarantees you'll get your package in 2 days. If it doesn't arrive within that time frame, Amazon Customer Service says you may be eligible for a free month of Prime membership.

If you want to make sure your item will come on time, check who is shipping your product. If your gift is being shipped from a third-party seller, it may not come in time for Christmas. Amazon says people who purchase items through third-party sellers could wait 2 weeks to receive their package.

If you're planning on mailing someone a present this year, make sure to check holiday shipping deadlines from USPS, UPS or FedEx to ensure that your gift arrives on time. If you're ordering from a retailer that uses USPS, UPS or FedEx, make sure to double check their holiday shipping deadline so that your item will arrive on time.

USPS holiday shipping deadlines

The United States Postal Service recommends that people ship by these dates to confirm that their package arrives on Dec. 25 if they are mailing something within the United States:

  • The last day for USPS retail ground service is Dec. 15

  • The last day for first-class mail service is Dec. 17

  • The last day for priority mail service is Dec 18

  • The last day for priority mail express service is Dec. 23

Dates will vary if you are trying to send a gift to someone in the military or if they live in Alaska or Hawaii.

UPS holiday shipping deadlines

The United Parcel Service (UPS) has an online calculator to help you determine when your package will arrive if you are using ground shipping.

FedEx holiday shipping deadlines

If you're looking to ship something last minute, FedEx may be your best bet. Packages can be sent using FedEx same day shipping on Dec. 24, according to FedEx's 2021 holiday shipping schedule.

  • The last day to ship using FedEx Ground Economy is Dec. 9
  • Ship by Dec. 15 using FedEx Ground Contiguous U.S., Freight Priority and Freight Express if you want your package to arrive by Dec. 25
  • Dec. 21 is the last day to ship using FedEx Express Saver or Three-Day Freight
  • Dec. 22 is the last day to ship using FedEx Two-Day, Two-Day A.M., Two-Day Freight or Two-Day
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