Tis the season to be… worried?

E-commerce has forever changed how we celebrate the holidays, with hundreds of millions of packages shipping between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. UPS announced plans to hire 100,000 seasonal employees, as they expect their daily package deliveries to double compared to their average of 20 million per day. USPS, who anticipates 20.5 million packages per day, will do the same, along with FedEx, Amazon and DHL.

More than ever, shippers and consumers depend on carriers to deliver holiday cheer. However, an increase in package volume coupled with an influx of new employees can lead to a myriad of issues, and said cheer ends up arriving late or damaged (what’s cheerful about that?).

Not only can these issues make a Scrooge out of your customers – they can also cost your business thousands in unnecessary surcharges. To save your bottom line and avoid depriving your customers of their much-anticipated packages, it’s important to be aware of holiday shipping deadlines.

While you need to consider the ‘last shipment’ holiday guidelines and plan ahead, it’s also important to recognize that the carriers’ delivery commitment policies change. For example, carriers scale back their Express service guarantee to a ‘day of’ delivery commitment, and abandon delivery commitments altogether for Ground services during the three weeks leading up to Christmas day.

Alerting your consumer of the carriers’ service schedule and commitments during this busy season is an easy way to ensure a positive delivery experience and stay off your customers’ naughty lists – no one wants to have unresolved issues to sort out after the holiday cheer has worn off.

ServiceDeadline (for Dec. 24 delivery)
UPS GroundDec. 13
UPS 3 Day SelectDec. 19
UPS 2nd Day AirDec. 20
UPS Next Day AirDec. 23

See the full list of UPS deadlines


ServiceDeadline (for Dec. 24 delivery)
APO/FPO/DPO (ZIP Code 093 only)
Priority Mail and First-Class Mail
Dec. 9
APO/FPO/DPO (all other ZIP Codes)
Priority Mail and First-Class Mail
Dec. 11
USPS Retail GroundDec. 14
APO/FPO/DPO (except ZIP Code 093)
USPS Priority Mail Express
Dec. 18
First-Class Mail
(Including Greeting Cards)
Dec. 20
First-Class Packages
(up to 15.99 ounces)
Dec. 20
Priority MailDec. 21
Priority Mail ExpressDec. 23

See the full list of USPS deadlines


ServiceDeadline (for Dec. 24 delivery)
FedEx SmartPostDec. 9
FedEx GroundDec. 16
Home DeliveryDec. 16
Express SaverDec. 19
2Day ServicesDec. 20
Overnight ServicesDec. 23

See the full list of FedEx deadlines

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