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Holiday Shipping Deadlines You Need to Know Now

UPS, FedEx and USPS guidelines to get your cards and gifts there on time

spinner image a woman packing a Christmas gift in a shipping box

Ho, ho, hoping your holiday cards and gifts arrive on time?

Of course you are. Punctuality always is preferred when you and your loved ones are sending mail and packages to celebrate the holiday season.

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You’d be smart to heed to the holiday shipping deadlines established by the U.S. Postal Service, FedEx and UPS to ensure cards and packages arrive on time. Mountains of first-class letters and packages already are on the move.

With shipping companies predicted to deliver at least 82 million parcels a day during this year’s holiday season, deadlines are a must-know. Plus the lingering supply-chain issues could stall the arrival of a gift, such as electronics or toys, on your wish list.

Holiday Dates for 2023

Christmas is Dec. 25, which falls on a Monday.

Hanukkah began at sundown on Thursday, Dec. 7; it ends the evening of Friday, Dec. 15. Dates vary by year.

Kwanzaa is celebrated from Tuesday, Dec. 26, until Monday, Jan. 1. Dates for the weeklong celebration stay the same annually.

Here's your must-know now guide to getting your presents and cards to their destination on time for Christmas and Kwanzaa. For Hanukkah, which started on December 7th this year and ends on the evening of the 15th, use overnight or two-day shipping stat.

And note of caution for procrastinators: Since Christmas this year falls on a Monday, not only will U.S. Postal Service, FedEx and UPS offices be closed that day, some offices will be closed on Dec. 23 and 24. That's something to keep in mind for Kwanzaa as well, which starts the day after Christmas. Check with your local offices to confirm hours of operation in the days just before those holidays.

U.S. Postal Service

These are the key deadlines for domestic mail deliveries in the contiguous 48 states for deliveries before Dec. 25.

The U.S. Postal Service says its official holiday season began on Black Friday, Nov. 24, and continues through New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31. Typically, the last two weeks before Christmas are the busiest stretch.

Sue Brennan, a U.S. Postal Service (USPS) senior public relations representative, urges consumers to mail early, especially when sending packages to “areas of the country impacted by inclement weather.”

The service does not release projections on holiday mail volume, but USPS says it’s ready to deliver “another successful holiday season of outstanding service.”

Important to know: Mail to and from Hawaii and Alaska, overseas military mail and other international mail often have earlier deadlines. Here’s more if you’re interested.


These are the company's deadlines for deliveries before Dec. 24 within the U.S.:

  • Dec. 13 for FedEx Ground Economy
  • Dec. 15* for FedEx Ground
  • Dec. 19 for FedEx Express Saver
  • Dec. 20 for FedEx Express 2 Day Shipping
  • Dec. 21 for FedEx Express Overnight and Priority Overnight
  • Dec. 22 for FedEx Express Same Day Delivery

“We’re all in for the holidays,” Brie Carere, chief customer officer for FedEx Corp., says. “We’ve been working with our customers throughout the year to plan for this peak."

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*This deadline applies to packages dropped off at staffed FedEx locations. Transit times vary based on destination and typically are one to five days in the contiguous U.S. and three to seven days in Alaska and Hawaii, the company says.

Here’s more on FedEx holiday deadlines.


Deadlines for UPS Ground Shipping vary. From now through Jan. 14, some UPS Ground and UPS Standard packages with transit times of three or more days, with certain origins and destinations, will require more time, the company says. To calculate delivery times and costs, visit

These are other UPS deadlines for Dec. 23 delivery:

  • Dec. 19 for UPS 3 Day Select
  • Dec. 20 for UPS 2nd Day Air
  • Dec. 21 for UPS Next Day Air

“UPS is well prepared to deliver, thanks to more than 500,000 UPSers around the world and 100,000 seasonal employees in the U.S. helping handle your packages and presents,” the company says on its website.

Find more on UPS holiday deadlines here.

Editor's note: This article was originally published on Nov. 13, 2020. It has been updated to reflect new information.

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