Holiday shipping deadlines: Make sure your Christmas gifts arrive on time

Don't miss these key dates when sending presents

Published: November 28, 2014 06:00 AM

Shop and ship soon so your Christmas gifts make it under the tree on time.

If want all of your holiday gifts to arrive by Christmas this year, you'd better finish your gift shopping soon. Check out the deadline information below for FedEx, UPS, and the U.S. Postal Service as well as details on Free Shipping Day and more.

And be sure to follow our tips for safely shipping holiday gifts and find out whether expedited shipping is worth the splurge.


For shipping within the U.S.:

  • Dec. 12: Last day to ship via FedEx SmartPost
  • Dec. 17: Last day to ship via FedEx Home Delivery and FedEx Ground
  • Dec. 20: Last day to ship via FedEx Express Saver
  • Dec. 22: Last day to ship via FedEx 2Day and FedEx 2Day A.M.
  • Dec. 23: Last day to ship via FedEx Standard Overnight, FedEx Priority Overnight, and FedEx First Overnight
  • Dec. 25: Last day to ship via FedEx SameDay

Shipping deadlines for packages headed to Puerto Rico and Canada, Mexico, and other international destinations vary. See FedEx's Last Days to Ship site for more information.

For other holiday-related shipping information, chec FedEx's Holiday Shipping 2014 website.


For shipping within the U.S.:

  • Dec. 22: Last day to ship via UPS 2nd Day Air
  • Dec. 23: Last day to ship via UPS Next Day Air

For international shipping deadlines and other holiday-related information, go to: http://compass.ups.com/ups-holiday-calendar/.

U.S. Postal Service

For mail and package shipping within the U.S.:

  • Dec. 15: Last day to send packages via standard parcel post
  • Dec. 20: Last day to send packages via First Class Mail & Priority Mail
  • Dec. 23: Last day to send packages via Priority Express Mail

The deadline for shipping packages internationally varies based on the destination. But in most cases, the deadlines are fast approaching—in some cases, as soon as Dec. 2!

It's too late to ship gifts to members of the military serving overseas via standard post. But you still may be able to send Christmas gifts to troops in overseas bases via pricier postal service options.

For more details, go to https://www.usps.com/holiday/welcome.htm.

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Other shipping tips to keep in mind

If you're planning to do some of your holiday shopping online, check retailers' specific deadlines.

Amazon.com says that the cut-off date for ordering items with free shipping is Dec. 16. Orders for gifts to be shipped with standard shipping must be completed online by Dec. 18. The cut-off dates for ordering items to be shipped with Two-Day and One-Day shipping are Dec. 22 and Dec. 23, respectively.

For more information, check out Key 2014 FBA Holiday Selling Dates and the important shipping dates calendar (PDF) that Amazon provides to its merchant partners.

You'll find similar holiday shipping deadline information for these online retail sites:

Free Shipping Day and free two-day shipping

Dozens of merchants, from Bass Pro Shops to Wine.com, are participating in Free Shipping Day on Dec. 18, with offers of items that will purportedly arrive by Christmas Eve.

ShopRunner.com, offers free two-day shipping service at more than 80 online partners, ranging from American Eagle outfitters to Toys "R" Us. But unless you have an eligible American Express credit card, you have to pay ShopRunner's $8.95 per month or $79 annual membership to use the expedited shipping service.

For other holiday shopping tips, visit Consumer Reports' Holiday Gift Guide and use our Gadget Gift Finder the tech geek on your gift list.

—Paul Eng

More holiday gift ideas and tips

Visit our Holiday Gift Ideas page where you'll find our experts' picks on the following and much, much more:

Top tech gifts for kids and teens

Top tech gift for Mom and Dad

Top tech gifts for Grandparents

Top tech gifts for $200 or less

Top tech gifts for $100 or less

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