It happens every year — the mad dash to ship holiday gifts to get them to loved ones on time.
And it bears repeating, especially for procrastinators, that the sooner you get the packages in the mail the better because of the annual surge in delivery volume in November and December. But there are a few issues specific to 2022 that shippers need to keep in mind.
“As always, there will again be a lot of mail congestion and delays this year,” said Sri Sridhar, CEO of LateShipment.com, which tracks and monitors package carriers’ performance. And “because of the economic uncertainty, many consumers have delayed their gift shopping this year to later in the season. This means they’re also shipping those purchases later, adding to the congestion.”
Another reminder: Christmas Day falls on a Sunday this year, which means virtually no overnight delivery.
The overall holiday gift shipping window is also shorter this season. “With December 18 being a Sunday, the final cutoff date for guaranteed Christmas deliveries with many merchants is the 17th of December. This is one to two days earlier than the cutoff dates that merchants usually have,” Sridhar said.
Lastly, inclement weather can throw a wrench in the works, forcing deliveries to be delayed or canceled.
Keeping all this in mind, Sridhar said last-minute shippers really shouldn’t wait until the actual last minute.
“Buy your gifts early and ship early, is my default advice,” he said. With less than two weeks to Christmas Day, that really means this week.
The Saturday before Christmas tends to be the busiest shopping day of the holiday season.
If you’ve yet to begin, or are wrapping up gift shopping this coming weekend, here are the drop-dead shipping dates within the US that you need to know for Christmas 2022:
UPS: The recommended last days to deliver by December 24 delivery are as follows:
- Ground: check the UPS website for details
- Three-day select: December 20
- Second-day Air: December 21
- Next-day Air: December 22
USPS: Here are the cutoff dates for expected delivery in time for Christmas in the lower 48 US states:
- Ground: December 17
- First-Class Mail: December 17
- Priority Mail: December 19
- Priority Mail Express: December 23
Alaska: First-Class Mail: December 17, Priority Mail: December 17, Priority Mail Express: December 21
Hawaii: First-Class Mail: December 17, Priority Mail: December 17, Priority Mail Express: December 21
FedEx: Here are the shipping deadlines for expected pre-December 25 delivery:
- FedEx Ground, FedEx Home Delivery: December 14
- FedEx Express Saver: December 20
- FedEx 3 day Freight: December 20
- FedEx 2 day Freight: December 21
- FedEx 1 day Freight: December 22
- FedEx Same Day: December 23
Amazon: Amazon hasn’t released its holiday shipping deadlines yet but said it would be delivering orders through December 24.
The company said through Christmas Eve, Prime members in the US can shop on Amazon for free one-day delivery with no minimum purchase and for free same-day delivery within regular business hours in more than 90 metro areas.