Holiday shipping: Here are dates to ensure your packages arrive in time

‘The earlier that you can send your package in the mail, the better’

The countdown is on to get gifts to their destinations in time for the holidays.
The countdown is on to get gifts to their destinations in time for the holidays.

The countdown is on to get gifts to their destinations in time for the holidays.

Experts say this is not the year to wait until the last minute to get all your shopping done.

“There are going to be inventory issues and the sooner you purchase your products that you need for the holiday season the faster they’re going to get to your door,” said Sara Skirboll, of RetailMeNot.com.

The United States Postal Service expects shipping traffic to increase the week of Dec. 7 and predicts the week of Dec. 14 to be the busiest for mailing, shipping and delivery.

“The earlier that you can send your package in the mail, the better you’ll be to have it received timely,” said Elizabeth Najduch, USPS strategic communications specialist.

USPS has dates it recommends you send your packages to get them delivered in time for Christmas:

  • Dec. 15 for retail ground service
  • Dec. 19 for priority mail
  • Dec. 23 for priority mail express service

Click here for more details on the USPS shipping deadlines.

“The complications and challenges of the pandemic have created a large volume increase which is very difficult to predict but we have seen an increase in packages,” Najduch said.

READ: SHIPPING DEADLINES: Send your gifts by these dates to make sure they arrive for the holidays

Dec. 15 is also the last day for all UPS and Fedex ground shipments.


Links for shipping deadlines:


Fedex is dubbing the holiday season “Shipathon,” saying the company will be up 22%.

“It’s something that the industry hasn’t seen before, numbers like this, and so that’s why we are just encouraging everyone, if you’re shopping, take advantage of the sales that are going on now and get those, those packages in the network as soon as possible,” said Jenny Robertson, Federal Express senior vice president of integrated marketing and communications

UPS has hired more than 100,000 seasonal employees and DHL said the company has been at peak levels since June. Fedex said it entered its busy season earlier than normal.

“Delivering on Sundays was something we were already implementing and we sped that up quickly,” Roberston said.

To help meet holiday deadlines, USPS is keeping some area post offices open for extended hours the next two Saturdays. They will also be open Sunday Dec. 6 and Sunday Dec. 13.

USPS also reminds customers that they do not need to leave their home to ship packages. Another way to remain socially distant is to use the Click-N-Ship feature on their website USPS.com to ship a holiday gift and order supplies.

The postal service also has “how to” guides on YouTube to help customers including how to measure a package and USPS Operation Santa.

Another way to make sure gifts arrive on time, is to purchase online then chose curbside pick up if it is an option.


Amazon offering holiday delivery through Dec. 24

Amazon announced Dec. 16, 2020 that Prime members can shop millions of items with delivery until Christmas Eve thanks to the many Amazon employees and drivers who are delivering magic for customers this holiday season.

For free delivery before Christmas, the following dates apply*:

  • Dec. 23: Last day to order more than 10 million items eligible for One-Day Delivery (coast to coast, free for Prime members with no minimum purchase)
  • Dec. 24: Last day to order millions of items eligible for Same-Day Delivery (free for Prime members in eligible areas on orders over $35)
  • Dec. 24: Last chance for free two-hour grocery delivery (reserved exclusively for Prime members in select cities)
  • Dec. 24: Whole Foods Market stores, Amazon Fresh stores, Amazon Books, Amazon 4-star, and Amazon Pop Up stores are open Christmas Eve (store hours vary by location)
  • Dec. 25: Give the gift that keeps on giving with online purchases of Amazon eGift Cards and Amazon Prime memberships

*Not all delivery speeds are available for all products in all regions, and order minimums and cutoff times may apply. To enjoy these fast and free shipping benefits (plus so much more), customers can sign-up for a 30-day free trial of Prime at www.amazon.com/prime.

To read more about Amazon’s Holiday Shipping, Delivery, Pickups and Returns options visit the Day One blog at: www.amazon.com/holidaydelivery.


About the Author:

Hank Winchester is Local 4's Consumer Investigative Reporter and the head of WDIV's "Help Me Hank" Consumer Unit. He works to solve consumer complaints, reveal important recalls and track down thieves who have ripped off metro Detroiters.