Christmas Delivery Services: Today Is the Last Day to Send First Class Post Before the Holidays

The Christmas holiday season is a very busy time for mail delivery services worldwide. You'll want to make sure you get your packages sent out as early as possible to avoid Christmas presents and cards arriving after the big day.

Here are this year's holiday shipping deadlines for different delivery services.

USPS

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has various shipping deadlines for deliveries within the country and abroad as well as for military deliveries. Some deadlines for international and military mail have already passed.

The USPS advises: "The earlier you send, the better: Don't delay, mail and ship today." Customers can also schedule a free package pickup for their delivery at the USPS website.

Below are the USPS' recommended "send-by dates" for expected delivery before Christmas. The actual delivery date for your package may vary depending on origin, destination, post office acceptance date/time as well as other conditions, such as customs delays, the USPS says.

2021 USPS Shipping Deadlines for U.S. Deliveries (excluding Alaska and Hawaii)

  • USPS Retail Ground Service: December 15
  • First-Class Mail Service: December 17
  • Priority Mail Service: December 18
  • Priority Mail Express Service: December 23

2021 USPS Shipping Deadlines for Alaska

  • First-Class Mail Service: December 18
  • Priority Mail Service: December 18
  • Priority Mail Express Service: December 21

Note: The shipping deadline for USPS Retail Ground Service for Alaska was on December 2.

2021 USPS Shipping Deadlines for Hawaii

  • First-Class Mail Service: December 17
  • Priority Mail Service: December 17
  • Priority Mail Express Service: December 21

Note: The shipping deadline for USPS Retail Ground Service for Hawaii isn't available.

See the USPS website for full details on shipping deadlines for all international and military mail, which vary by region and military address and range from December 6 to 21.

Special Notes for Some USPS Deliveries

  • Priority Mail Express Domestic Service: All shipments mailed from December 22 to 25, the money-back guarantee applies only if the shipment wasn't delivered or delivery wasn't attempted within two business days, the USPS says. See DMM Section 604.9.2 for more information.
  • Global Express Guaranteed Service (GXG): This service is "not a guarantee, unless otherwise noted," the USPS says. The dates listed on the website for this service are for estimated delivery before December 25. The actual delivery date may differ according to origin, destination, post office acceptance date/time and other conditions, including customs delays but some restrictions apply for GXG.
  • Priority Mail Express Military Service (PMEMS): This service is available to selected military/diplomatic post offices. Check with your local post office to confirm whether this service is available to an APO/FPO/DPO address, the USPS advises.

See the USPS website for more information.

People at NYC post office in 2003.
People queue up at a post office in Manhattan in December 2003 in New York City. Stephen Chernin/Getty Images

UPS

Below are UPS' recommended "last days to ship" for December 24 delivery this year. Shipments to certain destinations may require an earlier shipping date, UPS says. See ups.com/ctc for more information.

2021 UPS Shipping Deadlines for U.S. Domestic Deliveries

  • UPS Ground shipping: See ups.com/ctc for details.
  • UPS 3 Day Select: December 21
  • UPS 2nd Day Air: December 22
  • UPS Next Day Air: December 23

2021 UPS Shipping Deadlines for Deliveries from U.S. to Canada

UPS Standard (from the 48 contiguous states only, so excludes Alaska and Hawaii): See ups.com/ctc for details.

  • UPS Worldwide Expedited: December 21
  • UPS Worldwide Express: December 23
  • 2021 UPS Shipping Deadlines for Deliveries from U.S. to Mexico
  • UPS Standard (from the 48 contiguous states only, so excludes Alaska and Hawaii): See ups.com/ctc for details.
  • UPS Worldwide Expedited: December 21
  • UPS Worldwide Express: December 22

Other International Deliveries

Customers are advised to see ups.com/ctc for the recommended shipping deadlines for deliveries from the U.S. to other destinations abroad.

See the UPS website for more information.

A UPS worker in NYC in 2020.
A UPS worker wearing a mask and Santa Claus hat poses on December 24, 2020, in New York City. Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

FedEx

Below are FedEx's dates for "last days to ship" holiday packages this year.

2021 FedEx Shipping Deadlines for U.S. Deliveries

  • FedEx Ground Economy: December 9
  • FedEx Ground U.S. (including Alaska and Hawaii) : December 15
  • FedEx Home Delivery U.S. (including Alaska and Hawaii): December 15
  • FedEx Freight Economy: December 9
  • FedEx Freight Priority: December 15
  • FedEx Freight Direct: December 15
  • FedEx Same Day: December 24
  • FO, PO, SO, Extra Hours: December 23
  • 2Day and 2Day AM: December 22
  • FedEx Express Saver: December 21
  • FedEx 1Day Freight: December 23
  • FedEx 2Day Freight: December 22
  • FedEx 3Day Freight: December 21

FedEx says: "December 15 is the last day to ship via FedEx Ground if you have a regular scheduled pickup or you drop off shipments at a staffed FedEx location."

Transit times normally range from one to five business days within the contiguous U.S. and three to seven business days for FedEx Ground deliveries to and from Alaska and Hawaii, based on the destination ZIP code, FedEx notes.

See the FedEx website for full details on shipping deadlines for deliveries to Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico and destinations abroad.

A FedEx worker in NYC.
A FedEx employee in a Santa Claus hat dropping packages off on December 24, 2020, in New York City. Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images