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If you want your holiday package to arrive on time, here are the deadlines to know

Parcels jam a conveyor belt at the United States Postal Service sorting and processing facility in Boston.
Charles Krupa
Parcels jam a conveyor belt at the United States Postal Service sorting and processing facility in Boston.

It's the most wonderful time of the year, and while the holiday season may have snuck up on some of us, that doesn't mean your last-minute shipping woes need to sneak up on you as well.

Retailers across the U.S. are urging customers to finish their holiday shopping early this year,as supply chain issues and other shortages are posing a concern for many hot products on this year's shopping lists.

The U.S. Postal Service, FedEx and UPS have all released their deadlines for holiday packages and cards to arrive by December 25 — telling customers to mail their holiday packages earlier rather than later.

"We are ready and positioned to have a successful peak season," said Postmaster General Louis DeJoy in a statement last week. "Americans should feel confident sending their holiday cards, mail and packages with the Postal Service. There is a spirit of excitement throughout [USPS] and our entire team is ready to deliver the holidays for the nation."

Here's a list of the major shipping deadlines for each of the services — AKA the last possible day for you to procrastinate on sending those packages:

U.S. Postal Service

USPS officials recommend shipping your items by the following dates to guarantee they arrive by Christmas Day:

2021 Holiday Shipping Dates for the Contiguous U.S.

  • December 15: USPS retail ground service
  • December 17: First-class mail service (including holiday greeting cards)
  • December 17: First-class packages
  • December 18: Priority Mail
  • December 23: Priority Mail Express
  • 2021 Holiday Shipping Dates for Alaska and Hawaii


  • December 2: USPS retail ground service
  • December 18: First-class mail service
  • December 18: Priority Mail
  • December 21: Priority Mail Express
  • Hawaii

  • December 17: First-class Mail
  • December 17: Priority Mail
  • December 21: Priority Mail Express
  • For more information on international and military shipping deadlines, check out USPS and their full list here.


    In order for your packages to be delivered by Christmas Day, UPS is urging customers to ship their packages by the following deadlines:

  • December 21: 3-Day Select
  • December 22: 2nd Day Air services
  • December 23: Next-day Air services
  • If you're using ground shipping, UPS has an online calculator to help you determine when your package will arrive in addition to an online tool to check for an accurate quote.

    For a full list of shipping options, including international shipping, click here.


    If you couldn't help but send those holiday packages at the very last minute, FedEx may be the option for you for getting them to their destination on time. Here's a list of FedEx shipping deadlines:

  • December 9: Ground & Freight Economy
  • December 15: Ground & Home Delivery
  • December 21: Express Saver
  • December 22: 2Day & 2Day-AM
  • December 23: Overnight services
  • December 24: Same-day services
  • For more information regarding other deadlines, such as international destinations, click here.

    Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    Jonathan Franklin is a digital reporter on the News desk covering general assignment and breaking national news.