Holiday Shipping Schedules: When To Send Your Packages

These carriers want you to know their holiday shipping deadlines so you can get your packages to their destinations on time.

Delivery man giving parcels to woman in home hallway.
(Image credit: 10'000 Hours, Getty Images)

As the busy year-end holiday season approaches, UPS, FedEx, and the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) are reminding us that it's best to ship sooner than later, so they've provided their 2023 holiday shipping deadlines.

Does shipping take longer during the holidays?

With tens of millions of packages being shipped each day during the holiday season, you need to prepare for delays or ship early enough to play it safe. To make things trickier this year, Christmas falls on a Monday, so the cut-off dates for delivery on or before Christmas may seem earlier than in recent years.

When should I mail holiday packages?

Here are the dates you need to circle on your calendar to get your package there on time via UPS, FedEx or USPS:

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UPS shipping deadlines

UPS said to follow these deadlines to get your packages to their destinations by December 23. The following is the carrier's domestic delivery schedule:

  • UPS Ground Shipping — Check the website to get quotes, Saturday delivery options and other details
  • UPS 3 Day Select — December 19
  • UPS 2nd Day Air — December 20 (or December 21 with Saturday Delivery options)
  • UPS Next Day Air — December 21 (or  22 with Saturday Delivery options)

FedEx shipping deadlines

FedEx said the last day to ship your packages to arrive on or before December 24 are as follows:

  • FedEx SameDay — December 22
  • FedEx Overnight — December 21 (or December 22 with optional Saturday delivery)
  • FedEx 2Day & 2Day AM — December 20 (or December 21 with optional Saturday delivery)
  • FedEx Ground 5-Day Shipping — December 15
  • FedEx Ground 4-Day Shipping — December 18
  • FedEx Ground 3-Day Shipping — December 19
  • FedEx Ground 2-Day Shipping — December 20
  • FedEx Ground 1-Day Shipping — December 21

With optional Saturday deliveries, your last day to ship can be extended by a day but there is a $16 per package surcharge.

USPS shipping deadlines

The US Postal Service said that it will not have a peak, or demand, surcharge this holiday season, a major plus for consumers. It also introduced a new shipping option, USPS Ground Advantage, to ship packages with day-certain delivery of two to five business days, based on distance.

To get your packages to their destination by December 25, the Postal Service recommends the following deadlines for shipping within the Lower 48 states. For more destinations and information on international and other shipping services, visit the Postal Services Holiday Newsroom.

  • USPS Ground Advantage — December 16
  • First-Class Mail (including greeting cards) — December 16
  • Priority Mail — December 18
  • Priority Mail Express — December 20

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Joey Solitro

Joey Solitro is a freelance financial journalist at Kiplinger with more than a decade of experience. A longtime equity analyst, Joey has covered a range of industries for media outlets including The Motley Fool, Seeking Alpha, Market Realist, and TipRanks. Joey holds a bachelor's degree in business administration.