With Christmas fast approaching, many last-minute shoppers are likely turning to their computer screens to order gifts for friends and family near and far.
Thanks to a bevy of factors – not the least of which are the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and nationwide supply chain backlogs – holiday shipping deadlines might look a little different this year.
Tuesday, Dec. 14 might be the last day for free shipping for long-distance packages with guaranteed delivery before Christmas, as dozens of stores are participating in the online Free Shipping Day event.
The busiest time of year for U.S. Postal Service shipments are the two weeks before Christmas, the company said in a statement ahead of the winter season.
“The earlier you send, the better: Don’t delay, mail and ship today!” a message on the USPS holiday website reads in part.
For domestic shipments — excluding those sent to Alaska or Hawaii — the final day for USPS ground shipments is Dec. 15; first-class mail must be shipped by Dec. 17; priority mail must be sent out by Dec. 18, and priority express mail can be shipped as late as Dec. 23.
The actual shipping times and prices vary on distance between origin and destination locations, as well as size and weight of the package.
First-class and priority mail must be sent to Alaska by Dec. 18 to arrive before Christmas, and priority express mail can be shipped by Dec. 21. The deadline for ground shipments has long since passed the Dec. 2 date.
The time for domestic shipments to the lower 48 states depends on distance between origin and destination location. Customers can enter the two locations on this website to get an accurate shipping estimate.
UPS three-day select shipments must be sent out by Dec. 21; second-day air mail can be sent by Dec. 22, and next day services will be available on Dec. 23.
There will be no delivery services available through UPS on Dec. 25, Christmas Day.
The shipping deadline for FedEx ground economy and FedEx freight economy was Dec. 9. All other FedEx home and ground deliveries – including those being sent to Hawaii or Alaska – must be shipped by Dec. 15.
FedEx one-day, two-day and three-day freight shipments must be sent out on Dec. 21, Dec. 22 and Dec. 23, respectively. FedEx express saver packages can be mailed by Dec. 21, and same-day deliveries will be open until Christmas Eve on Dec. 24 for select shipments.
But note: FedEx is currently experiencing operational issues in Kentucky in the aftermath of a spate of devastating tornadoes last weekend, which could potentially impact delivery and shipment times in that state.
“The tornado that struck the Southern region of the U.S. earlier this week has left hazardous conditions in parts of Kentucky and is causing service disruptions to FedEx operations,” a message on the FedEx website, posted on Dec. 14, reads in part. “Although contingency plans are in place, some service delays and disruptions can be anticipated.
Click here for a complete list of zip codes impacted by the service disruption.