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Holiday shipping deadlines 2021: How to get your USPS, FedEx and UPS deliveries in time for Christmas

Don't wait until the last minute. Make sure you get your holiday gift packages on time this year.


Want your packages to arrive on time? Here are the dates you want to ship by.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and passed, but the holiday shopping season is not over quite yet. There are plenty of great deals still available, but if you still haven't finished all of your online shopping, you need to think about shipping deadlines and whether or not your packages will arrive in time for Christmas.

To give you the best odds of having your letters and packages arrive on time this year, the US Postal Service, UPS and FedEx have each circled the dates you need to hit -- specifically to arrive in time for Christmas and Kwanzaa, which begins Dec. 26. (You'll want to add in buffer time for arrival dates before the end of December.).

Here are the 2021 Christmas shipping schedules for the big three package delivery services. (Amazon hasn't released its deadlines yet.) If you're looking to send a memorable present, you can always check out these remaining deals still available for Cyber Week. And here are some ideas for gifts you can snatch up for under $50.

FedEx shipping deadlines for Dec. 25

If you're a last-minute shipper, FedEx lets you ship on Dec. 24 for a Dec. 25 delivery, but it won't be cheap. If you want a less costly option, FedEx's ground delivery deadline is Dec. 15.

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

FedEx holiday shipment deadlines

Domestic service Ship date
Ground Dec. 15
3Day Friday, Express Saver Dec. 21
2Day Freight, 2Day Dec. 22
1Day Freight, Extra Hours Dec. 23
Same Day Dec. 24

UPS shipping deadlines for Dec. 25

With the pandemic, UPS has suspended its guarantee of delivering most packages on time -- excluding some next-day air and worldwide services. Here are UPS' recommended dates (PDF) for Christmas 2021.

UPS holiday shipment deadlines

Domestic service Ship date
Ground Check the UPS website for deadlines
3-Day Select Dec. 21
2nd Day Air Dec. 22
Next Day Air Dec. 23

USPS shipping deadlines for Dec. 25

Saying it's trying to get its house in order, the US Postal Service is lengthening delivery times and temporarily boosting the cost of shipping parcels during the holidays. Here are the dates the post office recommends you circle on your calendar if you want your packages to arrive by Christmas this year.

USPS holiday shipment deadlines

Domestic service Date (excluding Alaska and Hawaii) Date for Alaska Date for Hawaii
USPS Retail Ground Dec. 15 Dec. 2 N/A
First-Class Mail Dec. 17 Dec. 18 Dec. 17
Priority Mail Dec. 18 Dec. 18 Dec. 17
Priority Mail Express Dec. 23 Dec. 21 Dec. 21

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 50 bucks.