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Holiday Shipping Deadlines to Keep in Mind

Blog Post
We’ve compiled all the shipping deadlines for UPS and FedEx to help you plan your fulfillment operations accordingly.
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The holiday season is notorious for late package delivery, due to backlogs and carrier staff shortages. But it’s also the most important time of year for you to get orders delivered on time. Not only because shoppers expect their gifts to arrive before the holidays do, but because consumers want to enjoy the comforts of each holiday (like decorations, food, and clothing) weeks ahead of time.  

Given that, you need to be aware of shipping cutoffs for Christmas. In this post, we’ve compiled all the shipping deadlines for UPS and FedEx to help you plan your fulfillment operations accordingly and set clear expectations with customers.  

FedEx Deadlines 

Since FedEx offers a variety of different shipping options — from FedEx Ground to FedEx Express — your last day to ship depends on how you choose to ship your orders.

Here’s the breakdown of what that looks like this year:  

  • FedEx Ground: If you’re shipping a product to a business in the continental U.S., FedEx Ground is the route you’ll probably want to go. Despite the fact that it only takes about 1-5 days for packages to arrive, FedEx decided to add a little wiggle room to their shipping calendar this year. As a result, if you want to get packages on a Ground truck, you’ll need to have them out the door by December 15th. The only exception is if you ship via FedEx Ground Economy, in which case, your cutoff date is December 9th.  
  • FedEx Express: It’s not uncommon for consumers to wait until the last minute to purchase gifts for family and friends. Thankfully, FedEx Express makes it possible for you to cater to last-minute orders (including those made on Christmas Eve). As long as you select Same-Day Delivery, you can continue to ship orders until December 24th.  
  • International: FedEx offers a number of international options for order fulfillment, including Next Flight to Canada, Next Flight to Mexico, and Next Flight to Puerto Rico. And thanks to technology, these solutions offer the same level of convenience as shipping Same Day in the U.S. As long as your packages have been processed by December 24th, they’ll get where they’re going on time.  


UPS offers many, if not all, of the same services FedEx does, and here’s what we do know about UPS cutoffs this year:  ​

  • Tuesday, December 21st: UPS 3-Day Select packages need to be shipped out this day to arrive on December 24th, since UPS doesn’t operate on Christmas day.  
  • Wednesday, December 22nd: UPS 2-Day Air packages need to be processed by UPS to arrive on Christmas Eve, as again, UPS doesn’t deliver on Christmas.  
  • Thursday, December 23rd: Last day for UPS Next Day Air packages to be delivered. Anything dropped off at a UPS store location or picked up by a carrier after this date won’t be delivered until Monday the 27th.  

Peak season is almost here, so it’s time to start preparing your teams and customers for the rush. By keeping track of critical carrier deadlines leading up to the holidays, you’ll be able to get more packages out to door in time for Christmas.