Holiday Shipping Deadline: Get Your Packages in the Mail Early, Experts Say

Holiday shipping deadlines

The holiday season is upon us which means the U.S. Postal Service, UPS and FedEx are all ramping up service so they can deliver everyone's gifts where they need to go on time. Officials with the U.S.P.S. say they expect to deliver up nearly 15 billion pieces of mail and 900 million packages during the period between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day.

"In preparation of the surge in online ordering that is expected during the holiday season, we have been expanding our global smart logistics network, which will provide increased capacity, real-time technology and operational efficiencies," UPS wrote on its website, adding "it always helps to shop and ship early during the holiday season."

By the way, today (Dec. 14) is also FREE shipping day, with many online retailers offering deals and/or free shipping for customers. You can see a list of participating companies here. 

With so much mail flying around, it's a good idea to keep these shipping deadlines in mind - especially if you're a procrastinator. 

  • FedEx Ground: Friday, Dec. 14
  • FedEx Home: Monday, Dec. 17
  • USPS 3-Day Select: Tuesday, Dec. 18
  • FedEx Express Saver: Wednesday, Dec. 19
  • First Class Mail: Thursday, Dec. 20
  • Priority Mail: Thursday, Dec. 20
  • USPS 2nd Day Air Services: Thursday, Dec. 20
  • FedEx 2-Day Services: Thursday, Dec. 20
  • FedEx Overnight Services: Friday, Dec. 21
  • Priority Mail Express: Saturday, Dec. 22
  • Next Day Air Services: Saturday, Dec. 22

Detailed information for carrier-specific holiday shipping information and updates can be found on their respective websites: USPS, FedEx, and UPS

Authorities are also warning people to be on the lookout for so-called "porch pirates" - or people who steal packages after they've been delivered, but before the residents is able to get home in time to claim it. 

Because most people lack the ability to be in two places at once, experts recommend that you send packages to an alternate destination if aren't available when the package is scheduled to be delivered. You could send the package to another family member's home or to your office. Another option that may be available for you is having your package delivered to a UPS retail location or Amazon locker if there's available near you.. 

However, if porch pirates strike, authorities say you should report the theft to police and file a report. 

Photo: Getty Images

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