2016 Christmas Deadlines for Mailing Letters and Packages

Keep an eye on the calendar when planning holiday shipments! Here are the dates you'll need to follow for mailing gifts to loved ones at home or overseas.

Last Days to Ship via U.S. Post Office

  • Thursday, December 15, 2016 – Last day for shipping via USPS Ground
  • Tuesday, December 20, 2016 – Last day for shipping via First-Class mail
  • Wednesday, December 21, 2016 – Last day for shipping via Priority Mail
  • Friday, December 23, 2016 – Last day for shipping via Priority Mail (overnight)

Read the full 2016 USPS schedule for details.

Be aware of the increase in shipping cost that may occur if a last-minute delivery is necessary. It may be best to arrange for shipping directly from an online retailer by marking a purchase as a gift, instead of adding in the stress of waiting for a gift to first be shipped to you. Taking advantage of a free trial of Amazon Prime before ordering may also give you the advantage of faster shipping!

Shipping Times for Military Mail

Earlier is better when trying to send a delivery overseas before Christmas. Follow these USPS recommended mailing dates and always check the USPS guide to military mailing for answers to all your APO/FPO/DPO mail questions.

  • Monday, November 7, 2016 – Last day to ship military mail via USPS Ground
  • Friday, November 25, 2016 – Last day to ship via "Space Available Mail (SAM)"
  • Friday, December 2, 2016 – Last day to ship via "Parcel Airlift Mail (PAL)" and absolute deadline for holiday shipments to Afghanistan / Middle East addresses
  • Friday, December 9, 2016 – Last day to ship via USPS Priority Mail and First-Class Mail
  • Friday, December 16, 2016 – Absolute deadline via Priority Mail Express Military Service (PMEMS) only

APO, FPO, and DPO addresses used by the U.S. Armed Forces require the earliest shipping dates. To send Christmas care packages to military members, you may need to plan as early as November!

Remember that the USPS can provide supplies and guidance regarding overseas military shipping.

Holiday Shipping Deadlines for UPS

  • Monday, December 19, 2016 – Last day to ship via UPS 3 Day Select
  • Wednesday, December 21, 2016 – Last day to ship via UPS 2nd Day Air
  • Thursday, December 22, 2016 – Last day to ship via UPS Next Day Air or UPS 2nd Day Air with Saturday delivery option
  • Friday, December 23, 2016 – Last day to ship via UPS Next Day Air with Saturday delivery option

Read the official UPS holiday calendar for full details.

Holiday Shipping Deadlines for FedEx

  • Monday, December 12, 2016 – Last day to ship via FedEx SmartPost
  • Friday, December 16, 2016 – Last day to ship via FedEx Home Delivery
  • Monday, December 19, 2016 – Last day to ship via FedEx Express Saver
  • Wednesday, December 21, 2016 – Last day to ship via FedEx 2Day and FedEx 2Day AM
  • Thursday, December 22, 2016 – Last day to ship via FedEx Standard Overnight, FedEx Priority Overnight, and FedEx First Overnight
  • Friday, December 23, 2016 – Last day to ship via FedEx SameDay City (Standard)
  • Sunday, December 25, 2016 – Last day to ship via FedEx SameDay and FedEx SameDay City (Priority)

Read the official FedEx holiday calendar for full details.

(Image via gerrybuckel on Flickr)

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