You have until these dates to ship holiday packages with FedEx, UPS and USPS

Want your packages to arrive on time? Here are the dates you want to ship by.


Sarah Tew/CNET

It’s not even Thanksgiving. You have plenty of time to send cards and packages so they arrive by any winter holiday you celebrate, right? Well, maybe not. Diwali starts Nov. 4, the first night of Hanukkah is Nov. 28 and shipping cutoffs for Dec. 25 may come sooner than you think (we have the deadlines below).

Any holiday season is already a busy time for mail and package delivery, and winter weather can throw a wrench in the schedule. Add the pandemic to that, and you can expect delays with mail and package delivery

To give you the best odds of having your letters and packages arrive on time this year, the US Postal Service, UPS and FedEx have each circled the dates you need to hit — specifically to arrive in time for Christmas and for Kwanzaa, which begins Dec. 26. (You’ll want to add in buffer time for arrival dates before the end of December.).

Here are the 2021 Christmas shipping schedules for the big-three package delivery services. If you’re looking to send a memorable present, you can always try one gift-wrapped with your face on it. And here are some ideas for gifts you can include for under $50 in that thoughtfully wrapped box.

What are the shipping deadlines for FedEx for Dec. 25?

If you’re a last-minute shipper, FedEx lets you ship on Dec. 24 for a Dec. 25 delivery, but it won’t be cheap. If you want a less costly option, FedEx’s ground delivery deadline is Dec. 15.

Here are the dates FedEx recommends you ship by to have your package arrive by Dec. 25 in the US.

FedEx holiday shipment deadlines

Domestic service Ship date
Ground Dec. 15
3Day Friday, Express Saver Dec. 21
2Day Freight, 2Day Dec. 22
1Day Freight, Extra Hours Dec. 23
Same Day Dec. 24

What are the shipping deadlines for UPS for Dec. 25?

With the pandemic, UPS has suspended its guarantee to deliver most packages on time — excluding some next-day air and worldwide services. Here are UPS’ recommended dates for Christmas 2021.

UPS holiday shipment deadlines

Domestic service Ship date
Ground Check the UPS website for deadlines
3-Day Select Dec. 21
2nd Day Air Dec. 22
Next Day Air Dec. 23

What are the shipping deadlines for USPS for Dec. 25?

Saying it’s trying to get its house in order, the US Postal Service is lengthening delivery times and temporarily boosting the cost of shipping parcels during the holidays. Here are the dates the post office recommends you circle on your calendar if you want your packages to arrive by Christmas this year.

USPS holiday shipment deadlines

Domestic service Date (excluding Alaska and Hawaii) Date for Alaska Date for Hawaii
USPS Retail Ground Dec. 15 Dec. 2 N/A
First-Class Mail Dec. 17 Dec. 18 Dec. 17
Priority Mail Dec. 18 Dec. 18 Dec. 17
Priority Mail Express Dec. 23 Dec. 21 Dec. 21

Did you know you can buy unclaimed packages? To make sure your packages stay delivered, here’s how to guard against porch pirates. And here are some cool gifts for under 50 bucks.