Holiday shipping deadlines approaching

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How to get your packages delivered on time for Christmas

This isn't the year to wait until the last minute to send packages. Make sure you get your holiday gifts sent on time this year.

The holiday shopping season is in full swing, with deals on gifts for your special someone. But while you finish up your online shopping, you need to think about shipping deadlines and whether or not your packages will arrive in time for Christmas.

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 Kwanzaa, which begins Dec. 26. (You'll want to add in buffer time for arrival dates before the end of December.).

FedEx shipping deadlines 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

UPS shipping deadlines for Dec. 25

With the pandemic, UPS has suspended its guarantee of delivering 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

USPS shipping deadlines 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