Holiday shopping season 2022 is about to ramp up. Are you ready to get your gift shopping done early this year? Every year I say I’ll get it done and every year I fail! So it’s time to mark the calendar with the drop-dead holiday shipping deadlines. Not that I’m going to wait until the last minute intentionally, but things have a way of getting away from me this time of year.
USPS, FedEx and UPS have all released their recommended send-by dates for expected delivery before the big December 25. Here’s a quick review by carrier.
Keep in mind that these are guidelines and subject to change. It does happen that certain carriers get overwhelmed and fall behind. Just last year, I had a package show up two days after Christmas, when it was supposed to arrive on December 24. Don’t be like me — beat the deadline by a few days if at all possible.
USPS Holiday Shipping Deadlines
For mail sent within the contiguous U.S.:
• Send First-Class Mail by December 17
• Send Priority Mail by December 19
• Send Priority Mail Express by December 23
• Send USPS Retail Ground by December 17
Read more about USPS holiday shipping.
FedEx last days to ship
FedEx will deliver FedEx SameDay City, Custom Critical, Trade Networks plus some Express and Home Delivery shipments on December 24. Additionally, FedEx Custom Critical service will deliver on Christmas Day.
Here are the recommended send-by dates by FedEx service type, for shipments within the U.S.
- Send FedEx SameDay shipments by December 23.
- Send FedEx 1Day Freight shipments by December 22.
- Send FedEx 2Day Freight shipments by December 21.
- Send FedEx 3Day Freight shipments and FedEx Express Saver shipments by December 20.
- Send FedEx Ground, Home Delivery, Freight Priority, and Freight Direct shipments by December 14.
- Send FedEx Ground Economy by December 8.
See the official FedEx guide on last days to ship.
UPS holiday shipping deadlines
UPS will be delivering on December 24. Christmas Eve pickup is only available for Air and International Air shipments that are scheduled by December 21. UPS will not offer pickup or delivery service on Christmas Day.
Mark these dates on your calendar:
- Send UPS Next Day Air packages by December 22.
- Send UPS 2nd Day Air packages by December 21.
- Send UPS 3-Day Select by December 20.
- Use this calculator to find last shipping day for UPS Ground.
See more about UPS holiday shipping.
And those retailers
In years past, some retailers would offer holiday shipping deals that could save you money and/or get your packages delivered faster. Unfortunately, these deals have become increasingly rare.
That’s why you should plan to finish up your online gift shopping early this year. Really early. Like, try to get your shopping done and ordered by December 4 or 5.
After December 10, make use of free expedited shipping or, of course, Amazon. And plan on giving Amazon extra time. The Prime Shipping two-day guarantee is ancient history. Many Prime Shipping products nowadays have estimated shipping times of three, four, or five days. On top of that, Amazon regularly misses those estimated arrival dates.
The takeaway is: If you don’t have your shopping done by December 1, you’d better get busy. Amazon can save you early in December, but you might be out of luck later in the month.
I wouldn’t bother with anything on Etsy at this point. To be safe, you would have had to place your Etsy orders in early November. I say this based purely on personal experience.
I’ve been burned too many times by casual Etsy sellers who take way too long to get the item ready for shipping. Last year, I ordered a customized gift in early December from an Etsy seller promising “express holiday processing.” I cancelled the order on December 23 because it hadn’t been shipped and I had no communication at all from the seller. Boo.
Good luck and happy shopping!