When to mail your gifts so they arrive by Christmas day


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Sep 20, 2023

When to mail your gifts so they arrive by Christmas day

The holiday season has descended upon us. Need to ship holiday gifts or letters?

The holiday season has descended upon us. Need to ship holiday gifts or letters? It's coming down to the wire.

Considering the pandemic and the 2021 supply chain crisis, lockdowns, labor shortages and disruptions to logistics networks led to significant disruptions in mailing and shipping. This year seems to be less busy in comparison, but that doesn't mean you should wait until the last second to ship your gifts. Deadlines are fast approaching and putting it off might end up costing you more.

Here's what you need to know about USPS, United Parcel Service and FedEx holiday shipping deadlines:

Measure your package's weight, shape, and size appropriately to avoid paying a $4 to $15 fee for dimension noncompliance. Knowing the sizing can also come in handy to calculate your shipping cost. And if you need boxes, labels, and padded envelopes, you can get them for free at store.usps.com.

The United States Postal Services has four shipping options people can use to ensure gifts arrive before December 25:

USPS Retail Ground: It's meant for packages that aren't in a rush to be delivered or for oversized parcels too large for priority mail shipping options. 📅 Ship by Dec.17., 📫 arrives in 2 to 5 business days, 💵 shipping starts at $8.80, but it's based on the weight of the package and distance it will be traveling.

First-Class Mail: For envelopes and lightweight packages. While Mail can only be sent at the Post office, packages can also be scheduled for free pick up online. Prices are based on the shape and weight of the package. 📅 Ship by Dec.17, 📫 Mail: 1-5 business days, small packages: 2 to 5 business days, 💵Large envelopes (up to 3.5 oz.) start at $1.20, and packages (up to 13 oz.) begin at $4.80.

Priority Mail: For folks who need to ship packages up to 70 lbs. (with a combined length and girth equal to or less than 108 inches). Online labeling is available, and you can request free pick-up. 📅 Ship by Dec.19, 📫 arrives in 1 to 3 days, 💵 shipping starts at $9.00.

Priority Mail Express: It's similar to Priority Mail, but it delivers much faster. 📅 Ship by Dec. 23, 📫arrives next day or within 2 days by 6 p.m., 💵 prices start at $27.25.

If you are sending packages to Alaska or Hawaii, deadlines are Dec. 2 for USPS Retail Ground, Dec. 17 for First Class and Priority Mail, and Dec. 21 for Priority Mail Express. For other International shipping options, deadlines are as early as Nov. 29 and as late as December 22 depending on the destination and shipping method.

UPS holiday services cover packages up to 150 lbs. and up to 108 inches long. Prices vary depending on size and location, but you can estimate the cost with the UPS calculator. If you drop off a package (except for UPS Express Critical service) on Nov. 24, Dec. 26, and Jan. 2, it won't ship that day because of the UPS holidays.

UPS has four deadlines to make sure your packages arrive by Dec. 24:

UPS® Ground: The deadline depends on your location and where you are shipping it to. Check UPS time calculator to estimate the last day for shipping.

UPS 3 Day Select: 📅 Ship by Dec. 20, 📫 arrives in 3 days.

UPS 2nd Day Air: 📅 Ship by Dec. 21, 📫 delivers in 2 days.

UPS Next Day Air: 📅 Ship by Dec. 22, 📫 next Day delivery. You can get free shipping supplies for this category, including packaging, forms, and labels.

If you are shipping to Canada and Mexico the deadline is Dec. 19, for other countries check the UPS calculator.

To make sure your packages make it by Christmas these are the last days to ship with FedEx:

Fedex Express: For same-day delivery, turn in your package by Dec. 23. For FedEx 1Day Freight and extra hours, send by Dec. 22. For two-day delivery and two-day freight, ship by Dec.21. For Express saver and three-day freight, turn in your package by Dec.20.

Fedex Ground: If you are shipping with ground economy, turn in your package by Dec. 8. All other ground services can ship until Dec. 14. Delivers in 1–5 business days (with most packages arriving within 3 business days).

Fedex Freight: It's for packages over 150 lbs. Economy's deadline is Dec. 8, but priority and direct shipping can be shipped until Dec.14.

If you are shipping to Puerto Rico and Mexico deadlines start on Dec.20 for economy, and go as late as Dec.23 for Next Flight delivery. For Canada, deadlines begin on Dec.15 for Connect Plus and go as late as Dec.23 for Next Flight.

DHL is yet to release a holiday delivery deadline calendar. But, you can use their regular shipping quote to estimate deliveries and cost.

Amazon is also yet to release any deadlines. However, they announced on Nov. 2, that they are preparing for the holiday season by hiring an additional 150,000 people. In addition, they are set to offer Same-Day delivery, choose your own delivery day, and free One-Day Delivery to Primer members.