Holiday Gifting Guide: When To Ship Packages So They Arrive by Christmas

Close up of woman hands opening parcel with present box.
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Time is running out to order or send out gifts to loved ones before the holidays. Supply chain issues and other shortages have been a big cause for concern this year, pushing retailers to order popular items ahead of time to avoid empty shelves. 

See: 6 Holiday Purchases That You Should Only Make at Costco
Find: The 5 Best Jewelry Deals From Costco’s December Coupon Book

For those last-minute shoppers, the U.S. Postal Service, FedEx and UPS have all released their deadlines for holiday items to arrive by December 25.

“We are ready and positioned to have a successful peak season,” said Postmaster General Louis DeJoy in a statement last week, reports NPR. “Americans should feel confident sending their holiday cards, mail and packages with the Postal Service. There is a spirit of excitement throughout [USPS] and our entire team is ready to deliver the holidays for the nation.”

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Here are the 2021 U.S. holiday shipping deadlines:

U.S. Postal Service

  • Dec. 15: USPS retail ground service
  • Dec. 17: First-class mail service (including holiday greeting cards)
  • Dec. 17: First-class packages
  • Dec. 18: Priority Mail
  • Dec. 23: Priority Mail Express


  • Dec. 2: USPS retail ground service
  • Dec.18: First-class mail service
  • Dec. 18: Priority Mail
  • Dec. 21: Priority Mail Express


  • Dec. 17: First-class Mail
  • Dec. 17: Priority Mail
  • Dec. 21: Priority Mail Express


  • Dec. 21: 3-Day Select
  • Dec. 22: 2nd Day Air services
  • Dec. 23: Next-day Air services


  • Dec. 9: Ground & Freight Economy
  • Dec. 15: Ground & Home Delivery
  • Dec. 21: Express Saver
  • Dec. 22: 2Day & 2Day-AM
  • Dec. 23: Overnight services
  • Dec. 24: Same-day services

See: How Much Rush Shipping Costs at 8 Popular Retailers Find: Delivery Secrets To Use If You Miss the Holiday Shipping Deadline


Shipping deadlines for items purchased through Amazon vary by product; however, the company is delivering items through Dec. 24.

Customers can shop now to take advantage of incredible deals and discounts across every category and beat the holiday hustle,” Amazon spokeswoman Robin Handley told Consumer Reports. “But whether they choose to shop now or later, we will deliver to customers right up through Dec. 24.”

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About the Author

Josephine Nesbit is a freelance writer specializing in real estate and personal finance. She grew up in New England but is now based out of Ohio where she attended The Ohio State University and lives with her two toddlers and fiancé. Her work has appeared in print and online publications such as Fox Business and Scotsman Guide.

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