UPS, FedEx and Postal Service Have Last Shipping Day on December 23 (Mostly)

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It’s tough to beat the free holiday shipping offers from nearly every online retailer, but there are still plenty of U.S. shoppers that still like to hit the retail shops, buy a gift, take it home, wrap it and then send it on its merry way.

The holiday season is the busiest time of year for package delivery services (no surprise there), as they have to deal with packages sent directly from retailers as well as those from individuals. And it seems that every year there is a small percentage of packages that just don’t make it on time.

Because there are so many packages, however, that small percentage translates in millions of packages. In 2015, for example, the U.S. Postal Service estimated that it would handle 600 million packages between Thanksgiving and the end of December. Even if just 0.5% were late, that works out to 3 million unhappy gift givers.

We noted earlier the shipping dates being offered by some online retailers  that guarantee delivery to last-minute shoppers that further clog the system at peak delivery times. The obvious moral to the story is to ship packages as early as possible.

Here is a list of deadlines for each of the three major package delivery services in the United States compiled by, a consumer retail website. For exact rates, visit the shipper’s website.

FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX):

  • December 12 – FedEx Smartpost
  • December 16 – Home Delivery and Ground
  • December 20 – Express Saver
  • December 21 – 2-Day and 2-Day a.m.
  • December 22 – Standard Overnight, Priority Overnight, and First Overnight
  • December 23 – SameDay City (Standard)
  • December 25 – SameDay and SameDay City (Priority)

United Parcel Service Inc. (NYSE: UPS):

  • December 19 – UPS 3 Day Select
  • December 21 – UPS 2nd Day Air
  • December 22 – UPS Next Day Air and UPS 2nd Day Air (Saturday Option)
  • December 23 – UPS Next Day Air (Saturday Option)

U.S. Postal Service:

  • December 15 – USPS Retail Ground
  • December 19 – DNDC Drop Ship
  • December 20 – First-Class Mail Service
  • December 21 – Priority Mail Service
  • December 22 – DDU Drop Ship
  • December 23 – Priority Mail Express Service