Holiday shipping deadlines 2021: Last week to mail packages in time for Christmas

2021 holiday shipping deadlines may be as early as Dec. 9
NEW YORK -- This is the last week to get holiday gifts and greetings in the mail by the recommended deadlines, and the United States Postal Service expects the busiest week of the holiday mailing and shipping season.

"Now is the time to mail your holiday greetings and packages to make sure they reach their intended destination in time for holiday gatherings and celebrations," Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said. "This will be the busiest week of mailing and shipping across the nation, but there is a spirit of excitement throughout the organization and our entire team is working around the clock to deliver the holidays for the nation."

The holiday season at the Postal Service, also known as the peak season, runs from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day. During this time, more than 12 billion letters, greeting cards and packages are expected to be processed and delivered to homes across the nation.

The postal service has extended hours to help meet the holiday demand - check the USPS website to find which location near you will be open extra hours during the weekend.

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Postal workers are gearing up for another holiday crush.

The Postal Service has been preparing for the peak season since spring, including the conversion of 63,000 pre-career employees into career positions and the onboarding of more than 185,000 employees since the beginning of last fiscal year.

The USPS has also leased 13 million square feet of additional space across more than 100 locations, and Sunday delivery has been expanded in select high package volume locations.

2021 Holiday Shipping Deadlines

The Postal Service recommends the following mailing and shipping deadlines for expected delivery by December 25:

Dec. 15 - USPS Retail Ground service
Dec. 16 - APO/FPO/DPO (except ZIP Code 093) USPS Priority Mail Express Military service
Dec. 17 - First-Class Mail service (including greeting cards)
Dec. 17 - First-Class packages (up to 15.99 ounces)
Dec. 18 - Priority Mail service
Dec. 23 - Priority Mail Express* service

Alaska to/from Continental U.S.
Dec. 18 - First-Class Mail
Dec. 18 - Priority Mail
Dec. 21 - Priority Mail Express

Hawaii to/from mainland
Dec. 17 - Priority Mail and First-Class Mail
Dec. 21 - Priority Mail Express

Mail and packages that weigh more than 10 ounces and/or are more than a half-inch thick using stamps as postage cannot be dropped into a collection box or left for a carrier to pick up.

Instead, take them to a retail associate at your local Post Office. This requirement does not apply to Click-N-Ship customers.

Click here for USPS shipping deadlines for mail sent to international and military addresses. USPS also offers a list on its website with tips about how to avoid common holiday shipping mishaps to ensure your packages arrive on time.

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UPS holiday 2021 shipping deadlines

For Dec. 24 delivery
  • UPS Ground: UPS recommends its self-service options for calculating delivery time

  • UPS 3 Day Select: Dec. 21
  • UPS 2nd Day Air: Dec. 22
  • UPS Next Day Air: Dec. 23

Click here for more information about shipping via UPS to international addresses.

FedEx holiday 2021 shipping deadlines

Recommended last days to ship for delivery by Dec. 25

  • FedEx Ground and Freight Economy: Dec. 9
  • FedEx Home Delivery: Dec. 15
  • FedEx Ground: Dec. 15
  • FedEx Freight Priority and Direct: Dec. 15
  • FedEx Express Saver: Dec. 21
  • FedEx 3Day Freight: Dec. 21
  • 2Day & 2Day AM: Dec. 22
  • FedEx 2Day Freight: Dec. 22
  • FedEx 1Day Freight: Dec. 23
  • FedEx Extra Hours: Dec. 23
  • FedEx SameDay: Dec. 24

Click here for information about FedEx international shipping deadlines.

These recommendations were provided by each company and are subject to change. Please contact shipping companies directly with any questions.
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