Miss These Holiday Shipping Deadlines, and It Will Cost You

gift package
Photo by Youproduction / Shutterstock.com

You might have ample time left to buy holiday gifts, but shipping them is another story.

Generally, the longer you wait, the more shipping will cost you.

That’s certainly true this time of year. Same-day delivery service on Christmas Day, for example, can carry a surcharge of up to $50.

So, mind the following holiday shipping deadlines for delivery services and online retailer Amazon.


For packages shipping within the U.S., the following dates are the last on which you can drop them off or have them picked up for delivery by Dec. 25:

  • FedEx Ground, FedEx Home Delivery — Dec. 17
  • FedEx Express Saver — Dec. 19
  • FedEx 2Day, FedEx 2Day A.M. — Dec. 20
  • FedEx First Overnight, FedEx Priority Overnight, FedEx Standard Overnight — Dec. 21
  • FedEx SameDay, FedEx SameDay City Priority, FedEx SameDay City Direct — Dec. 25

Shipments to or from Alaska or Hawaii can take longer.

Just because you can wait until Christmas Day doesn’t mean you should, however. It will cost you — an additional holiday pickup or delivery fee of $40 or $50 for the “SameDay” services listed above.

Additionally, if you use FedEx Ground, you can take advantage of the $5-off coupon that FedEx is currently offering. It’s good for $5 off a $15 ground shipment and is valid through the holidays.

U.S. Postal Service

USPS recommends that customers in the U.S. send holiday cards and gifts by the following dates for delivery before Dec. 25:

  • USPS Retail Ground — Dec. 14 (unavailable in Alaska and Hawaii)
  • First-Class Mail, Priority Mail — Dec. 20
  • Priority Mail Express — Dec. 22

You might not want to wait until the last minute, though. A footnote states, “Dates are for estimated delivery before December 25. Actual delivery date may vary depending on origin, destination, Post Office acceptance date and time and other conditions, including customs delays.”


Packages for UPS pickup and delivery service on the following dates will be scheduled for delivery on Dec. 24:

  • UPS 3 Day Select — Dec. 18
  • UPS 2nd Day Air — Dec. 20
  • UPS Next Day Air — Dec. 21

UPS also notes that the most current transit time details will be available through its “Calculate Time and Cost” tool at the time of shipping.


Many retailers with brick-and-mortar stores offer a free store pickup option that enables you to do a good amount of procrastination. With Amazon orders, however, last-minute purchases can be costlier, at least for shoppers who are not members of Amazon Prime.

If you’re in the contiguous U.S. states, the following dates are the last on which you can order items that you want to receive before Dec. 25:

  • Free shipping with no minimum — Dec. 18
  • Standard shipping (free for Amazon Prime members on qualifying orders) — Dec. 18
  • Two-day shipping (free for Prime members) — Dec. 22
  • One-day shipping (free for Prime members in certain areas) — Dec. 23
  • Same-day delivery (free for Prime members in certain areas), ultra-fast free delivery with Prime Now (only for Prime members in certain areas) — Dec. 24

Amazon also notes, however, that cutoff times vary by item, so go by the delivery date that is listed when you are checking out. You can also find more specifics on Amazon’s “Shipping Rates & Times” webpage.

What’s your favorite way to ship holiday packages? Let us know below or on our Facebook page.

How to find cheaper car insurance in minutes

Getting a better deal on car insurance doesn't have to be hard. You can have The Zebra, an insurance comparison site compare quotes in just a few minutes and find you the best rates. Consumers save an average of $368 per year, according to the site, so if you're ready to secure your new rate, get started now.

Read Next
7 Things I Always Buy at Estate Sales
7 Things I Always Buy at Estate Sales

Here’s what an experienced estate sale shopper always buys.

12 Products to Keep Your Car Clean and Organized
12 Products to Keep Your Car Clean and Organized

These items will help put your vehicular mess to rest — and each is available for less than $20 on Amazon.

3 Reasons You Can’t Rely on Medicare Alone
3 Reasons You Can’t Rely on Medicare Alone

Counting on Medicare to cover health care costs can jeopardize your retirement plans.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started


Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.

Trending Stories