Posted: December 05, 2017
By Cox Media Group National Content Desk
To make sure packages arrive in time for the holidays, you’ll need to know the shipping deadlines for the major carriers. There's not a single date to note: "Last day to ship" guidelines depend on the carrier and a variety of other factors.
This year’s shipping deadlines might be especially tricky, according to Consumer Reports, which has this advice for Christmas gift-givers: "Don't be fooled into thinking that Dec. 25 means you have a cushion of 12 more days. Most major retailers — and package shippers — anticipate online shopping will be off the charts this year and place a tremendous strain on package delivery systems this holiday season."
Whether you're getting a last-minute Sunday delivery from Amazon, are mailing care packages abroad for loved ones in the military or have other pressing shipping needs this holiday season, make sure your gifts get there on time with these holiday shipping deadlines:
Free shipping day
If you take the "If it's free, it's for me," approach, you'll want to check out Free Shipping Day Dec. 15. More than 600 online merchants will participate, offering hundreds of items that will arrive by Christmas Eve when shipped for free on Dec. 15.
For guaranteed Christmas delivery shipping within the U.S.:
Dec. 11: Last day to ship via FedEx SmartPost
Dec. 15: Last day to ship via FedEx Ground
Dec. 18: Last day to ship via FedEx Home Delivery
Dec. 19: Last day to ship via FedEx Express Saver
Dec. 20: Last day to ship via FedEx 2Day and FedEx 2Day A.M.
Dec. 21: Last day to ship via FedEx Standard Overnight, FedEx Priority Overnight, and FedEx First Overnight
Dec. 25: Last day to ship via FedEx SameDay City (Priority), FedEx SameDay City (standard), and FedEx SameDay
Shipping deadlines vary for packages headed to Puerto Rico and international destinations including Canada and Mexico.
If you're interested in Saturday delivery on Dec. 23, the following FedEx Express® services will deliver that day if you select that option: FedEx First Overnight®, FedEx Priority Overnight®, and FedEx 2Day®. FedEx Ground does not deliver on Saturday, Dec. 23, but FedEx Home Delivery will deliver that day with no additional charge.
The FedEx SameDay service (and some other FedEx expedited services) allows you to ship on Christmas Day or any other day of the year.
Find the delivery time and FedEx delivery choices for your U.S. and international shipments by using the Get Rates & Transit Times application at fedex.com.
Download an easy-to-print deadline calendar for the office or to keep posted at home on the FedEx website.
To make sure your package arrives in time for Christmas via UPS, get a quote that compares shipping charges and delivery times for UPS domestic and international services.
If you're shipping within the U.S.:
Dec. 18: Last day to ship UPS 3 Day Select, with delivery on Friday, Dec. 22
Dec. 20: Last day to ship via UPS 2nd Day Air, with delivery on Friday, Dec. 22
Dec. 21: Last day to ship via UPS Next Day Air, with delivery by Friday, Dec. 22.
Dec. 21 is also the last day to ship via UPS 2nd Day Air with Saturday Delivery option. (Saturday Delivery is not available to all ZIP codes.)
Dec. 22: Last day to ship via UPS Next Day Air with Saturday Delivery option. (Saturday Delivery is not available to all ZIP codes.)
Note the UPS Saturday delivery carefully, and note that certain other packages and services may require an additional day of transit time per UPS warnings.
For international shipping deadlines and other holiday-related information, such as pickup and delivery schedules, see the Holiday Shipping with UPS website.
And to make sure your package is in good shape to get there in time for Christmas, UPS has packaging tips and guidelines on its website.
U.S. Postal Service
The most important thing to note about holiday shipping deadlines for the USPS is that these are only recommended send-by dates for "expected" delivery by Dec. 25. The postal service notes on its website that "actual delivery date may vary and is based on origin, destination, post office acceptance time and other conditions."
For mail and package shipping within the continental U.S.:
Dec. 14: Last day to send packages via Retail Ground
Dec. 19: Last day to send packages via First Class Mail
Dec. 20: Last day to send packages via Priority Mail
Dec. 22: Last day to send packages via Priority Mail Express
As for the express mail options, note that the USPS will honor its money-back guarantee for Priority Mail Express shipments mailed Dec. 22 through Dec. 25th only if the shipment is not delivered or delivery is not attempted within two business days.
For mail and package shipping to Alaska:
Dec. 20: Last day to send packages via First Class Mail and Priority Mail services
Dec. 21: Last day to send packages via Priority Mail Express
For mail and package shipping to Hawaii:
Dec. 15: Last day to send packages via First Class Mail and Priority Mail services
Dec. 20: Last day to send packages via Priority Mail Express
The deadline for shipping packages internationally, including to overseas military bases, varies based on the destination and type of delivery service.
For more information
FedEx last days to ship for holidays
UPS holiday shipping guide
Holiday shipping deadlines, USPS
Braving the crowds on Black Friday may be the easiest part of holiday shopping. Shipping packages to gift receivers around the country can be a huge challenge – both in getting the gifts there in one piece and in keeping your budget under control.
Here are 10 tips to help you ship your gifts:
This seems like you’re buying for you and not them, but odds are there is something on your recipient’s list that is easy to ship through the mail.
Even with the right packing precautions, it’s always safer to buy items you know can survive a bumpy trip through the mail. Apparel, shoes and most toys are a safe bet.
The United States Postal Service has restrictions on what can be shipped, both internationally and domestically. Some things, such as ammunition, are completely prohibited, while other things, such as nail polish and perfumes, have restrictions.
Find out more at usps.com/ship/shipping-restrictions.htm.
Make sure to use a new, sturdy box that’s a few inches larger than your gift on all sides to allow for plenty of packing materials. Using that box that’s been in the basement all year can result in your gifts cascading out at the wrong moment.
The Postal Service estimates that a crease can reduce a box’s strength by as much as 70 percent.
The Postal Service suggests using higher-performing cushioning materials made of polyethylene or polyurethane. Basic polystyrene cushioning can endure only one impact.
Using stronger, but thinner cushioning is better because you can use a smaller box and save on shipping costs if the price is based on the package’s dimensions and weight.
Newspaper is not a great choice because it flattens, but it’s good for wrapping fragile items and separating them from other items in the box.
You want your packing job to result in a tight fit. Use at least 1 inch of cushioning around the item—top, bottom and all four sides — to fill in any air spaces. There should be very little movement when you shake the box.
The key point is to keep the gift items as far away from the box’s walls as possible. When you have a very fragile item, use two boxes, and cushion around the inner box with at least 3 inches of packing peanuts.
The holiday season is the busiest time of year for the Postal Service. These are the dates they recommend shipping items in the contiguous United States to make sure they arrive on time.
For more information on shipping to the rest of the world, visit www.usps.com/holiday.
FedEx, UPS and the Postal Service all offer flat-rate boxes, meaning that you can pack as much as you can into a box and ship it for one price. However, these do come with some limits – for example, UPS and the USPS only allows up to 70 pounds, while FedEx only allows 50 pounds.
Do a little shopping around before you ship. Some places, such as PostNet stores, will help you compare shipping prices. You can also do this online at sites such as Shipgooder.com.
USPS, FedEx and UPS also have tools on their websites to estimate shipping costs.
If you want to help your recipient avoid unwanted snooping from neighbors or children, consider sending the gift to their workplace. If it’s meant for kids, that’ll help keep it away from prying eyes. It will also help people from missing deliveries at home.
Keep your tracking numbers handy so you can pinpoint the package’s destination and lets its recipients know when to look out for it.
Santa’s delivery service isn’t always perfect, so it’s worth considering insurance on whatever you’re shipping.
Ask your shipper about insurance or a declared-value option. The post office includes $100 of insurance in its Priority Mail Express shipping and offers options for declaring a higher value, for a fee.
If your package ends up being damaged in transit, but the shipping company determines that you packed it improperly, or did not follow proper packing procedures, they may have grounds to deny your claim.
Sign up below to be added to our mailing list for the latest news, updates, access to exclusive contents, and more!
Take www.k95tulsa.com everywhere you go! Download your app below from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store:
Enable our Skill today to listen live at home on your Alexa Devices!