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If you want all of your holiday gifts to arrive on time this year, you'd better finish your gift shopping soon.
Hanukkah starts on Tuesday Dec. 12, which means your gifts should probably be at the U.S. Post Office at least the week prior if you want guaranteed delivery by First Class mail service.
And for Christmas gift-givers, don't be fooled into thinking that Dec. 25 means you have a cushion of 12 more days. Most major retailers—and package shippers—anticipate online shopping will be off the charts this year and place a tremendous strain on package delivery systems this holiday season.
To ensure your holiday gifts arrive on time, check out the year-end gift-shipping deadline information below for FedEx, UPS, and the U.S. Postal Service.
• Check out these tips for shopping (and shipping) procrastinators.
• Don't forget about Free Shipping Day. More than 600 online merchants will participate on Dec. 15, offering hundreds of items that will arrive by Christmas Eve.
For shipping within the U.S.:
Shipping deadlines for packages headed to Puerto Rico and Canada, Mexico, and other international destinations vary. See the Last Days to Ship section of FedEx's 2017 Holiday Shipping Help page for more information.
For shipping within the U.S.:
In addition to the Saturday Delivery restrictions as noted previously, UPS also warns that some packages and services may require an additional day of transit time. For a more complete assesment of how long it will take for your gift to arrive, check UPS' online shipping time and cost calculator.
For international shipping deadlines and other holiday-related information, such as pick-up and delivery schedules, see the Holiday Shipping with UPS website.
U.S. Postal Service
For mail and package shipping within the continental U.S.:
For mail and package shipping to Alaska:
For mail and package shipping to Hawaii:
The deadline for shipping packages internationally, including to overseas military bases, varies based on the destination and type of delivery service.
Online retailers and shopping websites are experiencing record volumes this holiday season, so it's important to check their specific ordering deadlines if you wish for your gifts to arrive by Christmas day—a Monday this year.
The cut-off date for ordering items on Amazon.com with free shipping within the contiguous 48 states is Dec. 15. Orders for gifts to be shipped with standard shipping (free for Amazon Prime members) must be completed online by Dec. 18.
The cut-off dates for ordering items to be shipped with two-day shipping is Dec. 22. In select cities, Amazon offers one-day shipping, but online orders must be completed by 9:30 a.m. (local time) on Dec. 24.
Also in select cities, Amazon offers 2-hour delivery (via Prime Now). But procrastinators must complete their orders by 9:45 p.m. (local time) on Dec. 24.
Keep in mind that many items sold on Amazon are eligible for free two-day shipping if you have an Amazon Prime membership.
For packages headed outside of the U.S. and other information, see Amazon's help and support site. Pay close attention to these particular pages:
Other Retailers' Deadlines
You'll find similar ordering and holiday gift-shipping deadline information for most major retailers online. Some examples:
Online ordering deadline to ship in time for Hanukkah (Dec. 12):
Check the Holiday Order Deadlines page on BestBuy.com for up-to-date-information.
JC Penney hasn't yet determined its online shopping deadlines for holiday shipping. But based on its general Shipping Information page online, it seems these are the dates you need to keep in mind for Christmas shipping:
Online ordering deadline to ship in time for Christmas:
The toy retailer, which filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September, has set these shopping deadlines for guaranteed Christmas delivery within the contiguous 48 states:
For information about package deliveries to Alaska, Hawaii and international destinations (including U.S. military bases), see Toys R Us' shipping and handling page.
We'll update this story as retailers firm up their holiday plans, so bookmark this story and check back often.
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- Dec. 11: Last day to ship via FedEx SmartPost
- Dec. 15: Last day to ship via FedEx Ground
- Dec. 18: Last day to ship via FedEx Home Delivery
- Dec. 19: Last day to ship via FedEx Express Saver
- Dec. 20: Last day to ship via FedEx 2Day and FedEx 2Day A.M.
- Dec. 21: Last day to ship via FedEx Standard Overnight, FedEx Priority Overnight, and FedEx First Overnight
- Dec. 25: Last day to ship via FedEx SameDay City (Priority), FedEx SameDay City (standard), and FedEx SameDay
- Dec. 18: Last day to ship UPS 3 Day Select for delivery on Friday, Dec. 22
- Dec. 20: Last day to ship via UPS 2nd Day Air for delivery on Friday, Dec. 22
- Dec. 21: Last day to ship via UPS Next Day Air for delivery by Friday, Dec. 22. Also the last day to ship via UPS 2nd Day Air with Saturday Delivery option. Note: Saturday Delivery is not available to all ZIP codes.
- Dec. 22: Last day to ship via UPS Next Day Air with Saturday Delivery option. Note: Saturday Delivery is not available to all ZIP codes.
- Dec. 14: Last day to send packages via Retail Ground
- Dec. 19: Last day to send packages via First Class Mail
- Dec. 20: Last day to send packages via Priority Mail
- Dec. 22: Last day to send packages via Priority Mail Express
- Dec. 20: Last day to send packages via First Class Mail and Priority Mail services
- Dec. 21: Last day to send packages via Priority Mail Express
- Dec. 15: Last day to send packages via First Class Mail and Priority Mail services
- Dec. 20: Last day to send packages via Priority Mail Express
- Holiday Ordering Deadlines for International Destinations
- Holiday Ordering and Return Deadlines for the U.S.
- Shipping Rates & Times
- Dec. 4: Last day for free standard shipping for music and movie products (must order by 10:30 a.m. CST) and for large home delivery items.
- Dec. 5: Last day for free standard shipping for most items (must order by 10:30 a.m. CST)
- Dec. 18: Last day for standard shipping
- Dec. 20: Last day for express shipping (must order by 12:00 p.m. noon CST)
- Dec. 21: Last Day for next-day air shipping (must order $49 minimum by 12:00 p.m. noon CST)
- Dec. 15: Last day for free standard shipping (must order $25 minimum by 4:00 p.m. CST)
- Dec. 19: Last day for standard shipping (must order by 4:00 p.m. CST)
- Dec. 21: Last day for premium shipping (must order by 4 p.m. CST)
- Dec. 18: Last day for free economy shipping
- Dec. 20: Last day for expedited shipping (Orders must be placed by 3:00 p.m.)
- Dec. 20: Last day for express shipping (Orders must be placed by 11:59 p.m.)
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