All the Final Dates for Shipping Holiday Packages With FedEx, UPS and USPS

Thanksgiving is still a few days away, but it's never too early to start thinking about the holidays. After all, Hanukkah starts on Nov. 28 this year, far earlier than usual. Everyone wants to make sure their gifts get to their destination on time, as no one wants to get a Christmas gift late. FedEx, UPS, and the U.S. Postal Service all have different dates they recommend shipping gifts to get to their destinations on time. Here are the Christmas schedules for the three most widely-used package delivery services.

FedEx does offer same-day delivery, so you could ship something on Dec. 24 and get the present to its destination on Dec. 25, but it will not come cheap, notes CNet. The deadline for the most cost-effective FedEx service, basic ground delivery, is Dec. 15. You can use three-day Friday, Express Saver until Dec. 21, two-day freight until Dec. 22, and one-day freight until Dec. 23.

During the coronavirus pandemic, UPS stopped its guarantee to deliver most packages on time, although some next-day air and worldwide services still come with a guarantee. The deadline to get a package to its destination by Dec. 24 with the three-day select service is Dec. 21. The deadline for second-day air and next-day air are Dec. 22 and Dec. 23, respectively. UPS doesn't have a nationwide deadline for the basic ground service, so customers have to head to UPS' "Calculate Time and Cost" page to learn specific details.

The U.S. Postal Service recommends residents in the contiguous U.S. send their packages using the USPS Retail Ground service to ship by Dec. 15. IF you live in Alaska and want to use that service, you should ship by Dec. 2. (A deadline for the service is not available for Hawaii.) Most First-Class Mail packages should be sent by Dec. 17, or Dec. 18 if you live in Alaska or want to ship a package to the state. The deadline for Priority Mail is Dec. 18, or Dec. 17 if you live in Hawaii. The deadline for Priority Express Mail is Dec. 23, or Dec. 21 for Alaska and Hawaii.

Shipping delays have been a concern throughout the pandemic, and those worries have only increased during the holiday season again. Late last month, Amazon said it was spending billions of dollars to make sure there are no delays and to keep products in stock, reports The Verge. Experts have also advised against procrastinating because of the limited inventories caused by shipping delays. "Major retailers are expecting a strong holiday shopping season, but have warned of limited inventories, longer shipping times, labor shortages and fewer discounts," Morgan Stanley economists told investors. Amazon has even released its lsiut of the hottest toys of the 2021 season already, reports CBS Essentials.