Christmas Shipping Deadlines 2022: When's the Last Day to Send Packages?

Nobody wants to send late holiday gifts. Here are your drop-dead dates for shipping for Christmas and Kwanzaa.

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3 min read
Three packages of different sizes sitting on a porch

Christmas is six days away, and too much of a risk for general ground shipping.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Don't look now, but Christmas is in less than a week (Dec. 25), and Kwanzaa starts the next day (Dec. 26). If you plan on shipping any holiday packages to far-flung relatives or friends, you'd best get to the post office, UPS store or FedEX center ASAP.

Hanukkah began last night -- Sunday, Dec. 18 -- so you've already missed that opportunity, but you can still send packages to arrive by the final night (Dec. 25) if you use expedited delivery. Every year, the major shipping and delivery companies announce their holiday deadlines -- usually focused on Christmas -- and we've collected those dates below. 

Here are the 2022 Christmas shipping schedules for the major American package delivery services. If you're looking for great last-minute presents, check out CNET's favorite holiday gift picks

FedEx shipping deadlines to arrive by Dec. 25, 2022

Because Christmas falls on a Sunday this year, you can't get overnight delivery from FedEx on Christmas Eve. You'll have to ship FedEx SameDay on Dec. 23 to get your package there by Christmas. FedEx Express Saver, 2Day and Overnight service deadlines are all one day earlier this year, due to the Sunday holiday date.
The deadline for FedEx's cheapest option, Ground delivery, expired on Dec. 14.

Here are the dates FedEx recommends you ship by (PDF) to have your packages arrive by Dec. 25 in the US.

FedEx holiday shipping deadlines

Domestic serviceShip date
Ground Dec. 14
Express Saver Dec. 20
2Day and 2Day AM* Dec. 21
First Overnight and Priority Overnight* Dec. 22
SameDay Dec. 23

* 2Day, 2Day AM, First Overnight and Priority Overnight can be sent one day later with optional Saturday Delivery add-on for $16 per package.

UPS shipping deadlines to arrive by Dec. 25, 2022

Similarly to FedEx, UPS shipping deadlines are all about a day earlier than last year. You'll need to send your very latest packages by Dec. 22 to make sure they arrive by Dec. 25. Here are UPS' recommended shipping dates (PDF) for Christmas 2022.

UPS holiday shipping deadlines

Domestic serviceShip date
Ground Check the UPS website for deadlines
3-Day Select Dec. 20
2nd Day Air Dec. 21
Next Day Air Dec. 22

USPS shipping deadlines for Dec. 25, 2022

The US Post Office deadlines for shipping packages for Christmas are about exactly the same as last year. Here are the dates the post office recommends you circle on your calendar if you want your packages to arrive by Dec. 25.

USPS holiday shipping deadlines

Domestic serviceDate (excluding Alaska and Hawaii)Date for AlaskaDate for Hawaii
USPS Retail Ground Dec. 17Dec. 2N/A
First-Class Mail Dec. 17Dec. 17Dec. 17
Priority Mail Dec. 19Dec. 17Dec. 17
Priority Mail Express Dec. 23Dec. 21Dec. 21

Amazon shipping deadlines for Dec. 25, 2022

You can cut some time out of the shopping and mailing process by ordering straight from Amazon and shipping the package directly to someone -- as long as you have their address. Amazon hasn't specifically listed its holiday shipping deadlines for 2022, but we can extrapolate the deadline this year from last year's shipping dates.

Note that these are estimated delivery dates. All shipping dates except for e-Gift cards and free shipping in five to eight days are exclusively for Prime members. Each Amazon product listing page will also provide an estimated shipping date.

Amazon holiday shipping deadlines

Shipping typeDeadline to buyDate delivered
Free shipping Dec. 15Dec. 23
2-day shipping (Prime) Dec. 22Dec. 24
1-day shipping (Prime) Dec. 23Dec. 24
Same day delivery (Prime) Dec. 24Dec. 24
e-Gift card delivery Dec. 25Dec. 25

How to ship packages to arrive in time for Hanukkah or Kwanzaa this year

Shipping companies don't list specific deadlines for Hanukkah or Kwanzaa. However, it's not too hard to estimate the dates you'll need to ship by to have your packages arrive on time.

For Kwanzaa, you can basically use the dates for Christmas. Kwanzaa starts on Dec. 26, which is a federal holiday this year. USPS and UPS will both not be delivering packages on Dec. 26, and FedEx will have limited services. If you want any Kwanzaa packages to arrive before the holiday begins, use the shipping deadlines for Christmas.

Hanukkah started in 2022 on Dec. 18 and runs through Dec. 25. As with the start of Kwanzaa, if you want to ship a package that arrives by the final night, you'll see the same dates as for Christmas.

Nothing is guaranteed, and storms and package supply shortage may result in shipping delays, as has happened in the last few years.

Did you know you can buy unclaimed packages? To make sure your packages stay delivered, here's how to guard against porch pirates. And here are some cool gifts for under $100.