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Guide: Deadlines to ship your packages so they arrive before Christmas 2020

Packages with USPS, FedEx, UPS must be shipped by certain day in order to arrive before Dec. 25

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With the 2020 holiday season taking place amid a global pandemic, people will likely be shipping gifts to one another this year instead of delivering them in person.

So when should you ship your packages if you want them to arrive in time for Christmas on December 25? That depends on which mail carrier you’re using, which delivery service you’ve selected to use with them and where your package is headed.

To make sure your gifts arrive before Christmas, follow the holiday shipping deadlines for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), FedEx and UPS below.

Note: Hanukkah runs from December 10 to December 18 this year. Kwanzaa runs from December 26 to January 1, 2021.

USPS holiday shipping deadlines

The USPS recommends shipping your packages by the following dates if you want them to arrive before December 25.

Shipping within contiguous U.S.

  • December 15 for USPS Retail Ground service
  • December 18 for First-Class Mail service (including greeting cards) and First-class packages (up to 15.99 ounces)
  • December 19 for Priority Mail service
  • December 23 for Priority Mail Express service

Shipping to/from Alaska

  • December 18 for First-Class Mail, Alaska to/from Continental U.S.
  • December 19 for Priority Mail, Alaska to/from Continental U.S.
  • December 21 for Priority Mail Express, Alaska to/from Continental U.S.

Shipping to/from Hawaii

  • December 15 for Priority Mail and First-Class Mail, Hawaii to/from mainland
  • December 21 for Priority Mail Express, Hawaii to/from mainland

Shipping to air, army, fleet or diplomatic post offices

  • December 9 for Priority Mail and First-Class Mail, to zip code 093 only
  • December 11 for Priority Mail and First-Class Mail, excluding zip code 093
  • December 18 for USPS Priority Mail Express service, excluding zip code 093

For information about shipping with USPS to an international destination, click here.

Visit USPS’ website right here for more information about holiday shipping.

FedEx holiday shipping deadlines

FedEx recommends shipping your packages by the following dates if you want them to arrive before December 25.

The following deadlines apply only to packages being shipped from U.S. destination to U.S. destination.

  • December 9 for FedEx SmartPost
  • December 15 for FedEx Home Delivery and FedEx Ground
  • December 21 for FedEx Express Saver and FedEx 3Day Freight
  • December 22 for FedEx 2Day, FedEx 2Day A.M. and FedEx 2Day Freight
  • December 23 for FedEx 1Day Freight, FedEx Extra Hours, FedEx Standard Overnight, FedEx Priority Overnight and FedEx First Overnight
  • December 25 for FedEx SameDay, FedEx SameDay City Priority and FedEx SameDay City Direct

For holiday shipping deadlines when sending items to Canada, Mexico or another location, visit FedEx’s website right here.

UPS holiday shipping deadlines

UPS recommends shipping your packages by the following dates if you want them to arrive before December 25.

  • December 15 for UPS Ground
  • December 21 for UPS 3 Day Select
  • December 22 for UPS 2nd Day Air
  • December 23 for UPS Next Day Air

UPS is closed on Christmas Day (December 25), though the UPS Express Critical service is still available.

Visit the UPS website here to learn more about their holiday shipping deadlines.

Amazon holiday shipping deadlines will vary depending on where you live, what you’re ordering and if you’re a Prime member. Delivery options and anticipated delivery dates for products sold on Amazon will be identified on the product’s listing page and during the checkout process.

Happy holidays and happy shopping!


It’s been a tough year for local businesses, so we’re rallying the community together to #SupportLocal this holiday season. We’re collecting a list of unique gift ideas for sale from your favorite Metro Detroit shops and businesses. Browse through the lists and submit your own ideas using the links below.


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