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

Keep hectic holiday season, possible coronavirus delays in mind

It’s officially holiday shopping season and with the CDC recommending Americans stay home for the holidays to avoid gatherings that could further the spread of the novel coronavirus, you may not have the opportunity to hand-deliver those presents you purchased in person, which means you’ll likely be relying on delivery services even more than usual this year.

With that being said, the sooner you can get those gifts purchased and en route to their recipient, the better off you’ll be. However, we know it’s been a busy year and you may still be shopping up until the last minute, which means you’ll need to know how late you can get those items in transit to have them arrive in time for the holidays.

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You still have some time to shop and send Christmas gifts, but if you celebrate Hanukkah, you’ll need to put a little pep in your step, because those shipping deadlines will be here even sooner. As a reminder, Hanukkah begins on the evening of Dec. 10 and ends the evening of Dec. 18 this year.

If you’re shopping for Kwanzaa, which begins Dec. 26 and ends Jan. 1, you have a few more days to shop, but still, we don’t recommend waiting if you can knock it out sooner.

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Remember, the longer you wait, the more shipping could cost.

If you’re shipping gifts you want to arrive in time for Christmas, here are some recommended send-by dates for expected delivery by Dec. 25:

USPS (excluding Alaska and Hawaii)

Domestic Mail Class/ProductSend-by Date
USPS Retail Ground ServiceDec. 15
First-Class Mail ServiceDec. 18
Priority Mail ServiceDec. 19
Priority Mail Express ServiceDec. 23

Click here for USPS holiday shipping dates for Alaska and Hawaii, military bases and overseas addresses.

REMINDER: According to the United States Postal Service, the postal service has experienced only minor operational impacts due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but delays are still possible, especially during this busy holiday season, so keep that in mind.


Shipping OptionSend-by Date
UPS GroundDec. 15
UPS 3 Day SelectDec. 21
UPS 2nd Day AirDec. 22
UPS Next Day AirDec. 23

Click here for more details on UPS holiday shipping.

FedEx (U.S. to U.S.)

Shipping OptionSend-by Date
FedEx SmartPost (certain exceptions apply)Dec. 9
FedEx Home DeliveryDec. 15
FedEx GroundDec. 15
FedEx Express SaverDec. 21
FedEx 3 Day FreightDec. 21
FedEx 2 DayDec. 22
FedEx 2 Day A.M.Dec. 22
FedEx 2 Day FreightDec. 22
FedEx 1 Day FreightDec. 23
FedEx Extra HoursDec. 23
FedEx Standard OvernightDec. 23
FedEx Priority OvernightDec. 23
FedEx First OvernightDec. 23
FedEx SameDayDec. 25
FedEx SameDay City PriorityDec. 25
FedEx SameDay City DirectDec. 25

Click here to see last-day-to-ship dates if you’re planning to send gifts to Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico or other destinations.


Amazon has not released its 2020 holiday shipping calendar, but last year, the company recommended buyers send products no later than Dec. 22 or Dec. 23 for a Dec. 25 arrival. Of course, how long it takes for a package to arrive depends on whether the buyer is a Prime member, where the recipient lives and the product being shipped.

Be sure to pay close attention to the estimated arrival date while checking out to make sure you avoid any late packages.

It’s also important to note that hours of operation at USPS, UPS or FedEx locations may vary during the holiday season, so call ahead or check online before heading out to your neighborhood drop off site.

Happy shopping and happy shipping!