FYI: Holiday Shipping Deadlines Are Earlier Than Ever This Year

·4-min read
FYI: Holiday Shipping Deadlines Are Earlier Than Ever This Year


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If the holiday season crept up on you without warning (wasn't it July yesterday?), you likely still have some shopping to do. And this year with the pandemic plus a surge in online holiday sales, we can expect shipping slowdowns similar to what we saw in 2020. Luckily, retailers are making it easier by working around the clock to make sure your packages arrive before Christmas morning.

Our shopping habits have drastically changed over the course of a year, and consequentially, the holiday shipping deadlines are earlier than ever in 2021. It's why many stores are leading pre-Black Friday sales right now. Read on to find out the last possible day you can place an order at all your favorite stores to ensure delivery before Christmas Day.

What is the deadline for mailing Christmas packages?

It depends on who you ask. Although some retailers can vary even up until Christmas Eve, it's best to give yourself ample time. According to Adobe's 2020 report, December 11 would usually be the last day for standard shipping based on previous years' trends — but they advise sending packages before then. That said, here are the estimated domestic holiday shipping deadlines according to major delivery services:

USPS

  • December 15: Last date to send packages using the retail ground service.

  • December 17: Deadline to send packages via First-Class Mail.

  • December 20: Deadline to send for Priority Mail, and by December 23 for Priority Mail Express.

UPS:

*Note that UPS previously had shipping limits on certain retailers.

  • December 15: Send packages by this date for UPS Ground.

  • December 21: Last date to ship via UPS 3 Day Select.

  • December 22: Last date to ship via UPS 2nd Day Air.

  • December 23: Deadline to send packages using UPS Next Day Air.

FedEx:

  • December 15: Deadline to send packages via FedEx Home Delivery or FedEx Ground.

  • December 21: Last date to send packages via FedEx Express Saver or 3 Day Freight.

  • December 22: Last date to send packages via FedEX 2Day A.M., 2 Day Freight, or 2 Day.

  • December 23: Deadline to send packages via 1 Day Freight, FedEx Standard Overnight, Priority Overnight, or First Overnight.

  • December 24: Packages can be sent via Same Day domestically.

Holiday Shipping Deadlines From Retailers:

  • Amazon: While we await official times for 2021, we can say from past years that December 23 was the last day to order using one-day delivery. December 24 marked the last day to order via same-day delivery and two-hour grocery delivery, but you could still purchase and send Amazon eGift cards and Prime memberships on Christmas Day.

  • Barnes & Noble: Order by December 12 at 11:59 p.m. ET for free shipping. Order by December 18 at 11:59 a.m. ET using express shipping.

  • Etsy: Deadlines vary by the type of shipping that individual vendors use. You can find a full guide to finding your shipping deadline here.

  • Kmart: Order by December 16 at 4 p.m. CST for free shipping, December 18 same time for standard shipping and by December 20 same for premium shipping. You can pick up orders in-store on Christmas Eve by 3 p.m.

  • Kohl's: Order by December 19 at 1 p.m. CST using two-day delivery and by December 20 same time via one-day delivery.

  • Nordstrom: Holiday dates aren't up yet, but note that gift cards arrive within one week via standard shipping, special orders may require up to eight days for delivery and custom items usually arrive in three or four weeks.

  • Sears: Order by December 16 at 4 p.m. CST using free delivery or December 20 same time using premium delivery.

  • Sephora: Official dates aren't up yet, but in the past you would order by 3 p.m. on December 21 using Sephora's free FLASH shipping.

  • Urban Outfitters: Order by December 19 at 3 a.m. ET using standard shipping, December 22 at 3 a.m. ET using express shipping, or December 23 at 9 a.m. ET using rush shipping to get your gift by December 23.

  • Walmart: We're still waiting for official timelines. In the past, free next-day delivery was available on eligible items over $35, as well as two-day shipping. Orders must be placed by 2 p.m. local time.

  • 1-800-Flowers: Last year. the delivery service offered same-day delivery for select bouquets if you order on weekdays by 2:30 pm local time. You can see the full collection here.

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