2017 holiday shipping deadlines: Dates you need to know

WASHINGTON — Workers at the post office and other shipping companies are working almost as diligently as Santa’s elves.

But if you want to make sure your packages and holiday cards get to your loved ones in time for the holidays, you’ll want to you check this list of shipping deadlines from the U.S. Postal Service, FedEx and UPS — and check it twice just to be sure.

Christmas falls on a Monday this year, which means you may need to budget a bit more time for packages and cards to arrive.

U.S. Postal Service holiday shipping deadlines.

If you’re sending cards, letters or packages, and you want them to arrive by Christmas, the Postal Service says you need to have them in the mail by:

  • Dec. 19 for First-Class Mail for holiday cards and lightweight packages (only weighing up to 13 ounces). Rates start at 49 cents.
  • Dec. 20 if you’re shipping via Priority Mail, which promises delivery in 1-3 days depending on where your package is headed. Rates start at $6.65
  • Dec. 22 via Priority Mail Express Service, which guarantees overnight delivery to most locations. Rates start at $23.75.

There are different deadlines if you’re shipping to Alaska or Hawaii or if you’re shipping items overseas, so check out the Postal Service website for more details.

FedEx holiday shipping deadlines

If you’re shipping with FedEx, you’ll want to have packages ready to go by the following dates:

  • Dec. 19 with FedEx Express Saver
  • Dec. 20 for both FedEx 2Day and FedEx 2Day A.M.
  • Dec 21. with FedEx Standard Overnight, Priority Overnight and First Overnight.

Packages delivered on Dec. 23 will incur a $16 per-package Saturday delivery fee.

You can view more details about shipping options and deadlines for international shipping on the FedEx website.

UPS holiday shipping deadlines

Opting for UPS? The last day to ship to make sure your package gets to its destination on time:

  • Dec. 20 with UPS 2nd Day Air (without Saturday delivery)
  • Dec. 21 with UPS 2nd Day Air (if Saturday delivery is available; Saturday delivery isn’t available in all ZIP codes)
  • Dec. 22 with UPS Next Day Air (with Saturday delivery)
  • Dec. 24 with UPS Express Critical
  • Dec. 25 with UPS Express Critical

View more details about holiday shipping options on the UPS website.

To make sure your package gets to its destination on time, UPS recommends you use its website to calculate time and cost.


Amazon has its own deadlines. If you want your packages to arrive in time for Christmas, you’ll need to order by the following dates:

  • Dec. 22 with for two-day shipping (which is free for Amazon Prime members)
  • Dec. 23 with one-day shipping (only available in certain cities but is free for Prime members)
  • Dec. 24 with same-day delivery (only available in certain cities but free for Prime members)
  • Dec. 24. These deadlines are for within the contiguous U.S. only.

Check out more details about ordering deadlines on Amazon’s website.

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Jack Moore

Jack Moore joined WTOP.com as a digital writer/editor in July 2016. Previous to his current role, he covered federal government management and technology as the news editor at Nextgov.com, part of Government Executive Media Group.

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