Shipping deadlines for holiday season

December 8, 2011 4:28:05 PM PST
Christmas is less than three weeks away and if you have not gotten all your gifts, you probably have no idea when the holiday shipping deadlines are.

You have plenty of time to get the gifts out, but this time next week the prices start going up, so if you want to save on shipping, it's time to get in gear.

Tis the season for wrapping and sending. If you hope to get your gifts to their destination on time and under budget, act soon.

"I ship a lot of packages all over the country and I do not want to pay anymore than I have to because it adds up fast," said one customer.

How fast? This box of holiday cheer being sent to Pittsburgh today costs $28, but after next week the same box will set you back more than $100.

If you are sending things overseas like Stefanie Engels, time is not on your side.

"It depends on German mail, American mail, and whenever it gets there. I had one incident last year I sent it out the beginning of December and it arrived the end of January," Engels said.

If you are using U.S. Mail to ship gifts in the USA, here are the deadlines: For parcel post, the least expensive option is December 16. Letters and cards need to be sent by December 20.

If you have to use Priority Mail, which costs more, the deadline is December 20 and for Express Mail it is December 23.

For FedEx, the last day to use the least expensive option, ground delivery, is December 17. And for UPS the last day for three day delivery is December 21.

Amish Patel runs West U Pack & Ship and is warning his customers that the shipping days are winding down.

"After the 19th, it is going to be they have to send it two days, three days or overnight. They still have time, but its two weeks and it is going to be very busy," Patel said.

Keep in mind these deadlines also fall on the busiest days for package and mail delivery, so if you wait until these days, you will be standing in long lines. So really the best advice is to get on this at least a couple of days in advance.

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