The holidays are quickly upon us. It’s time for festive fun and frolics, eggnog, Christmas movies, and of course shopping and presents.
However, if you’re sending gifts and cards through the post, or ordering products from online retailers, knowing the shipping times and possible delays will help ensure a stress-free holiday period.
After all, a combination of Covid increasing the demand on the postal service along with the undoubted increase of online holiday shopping, things will get stretched.
This guide has all the important deadlines so that your shipping requirements run smoothly.
Holiday Shipping Deadlines 2021
The demands on the shipping industry, as well as the different terms offered by online retailers, make pinpointing exact dates for making orders difficult.
However, the major carriers do have shipping deadlines that they encourage customers to pay attention to.
If you want a package to arrive at its destination before Christmas, the dates are as follows:
FedEx Holiday Shipping Deadlines 2021
- FedEx Ground Economy: Dec. 9
- FedEx Ground Shipping: Dec. 12
- FedEX Express Saver: Dec. 21
- FedEx 2 day and overnight options: Not expected to be affected
UPS Holiday Shipping Deadlines 2021
- UPS Ground Shipping: Dec. 16
- UPS Next Day Air and 2nd Day Air: Dec. 18
- UPS 3-Day Select: Dec. 19
USPS Holiday Shipping Deadlines 2021
- Retail Ground Shipping: Dec. 15
- Media Mail: Dec. 16
- First Class Mail: Dec. 18
- Priority Mail: Dec. 19
Erring on the side of caution is definitely the recommended course of action here. This also means making arrangements so that delivery arrives a day or two before Christmas.
This is when things can go wrong, and you may have to wait until after Christmas for delivery, (especially when bad weather might be present in areas of the U.S)
Supply Chain Issues – Buying Gifts
Supply chain issues will also impact your online shopping this holiday season
COVID shutdowns in production facilities worldwide have led to issues all along the supply chain.
From the lack of components that delay the production of items, to the actual shipment of finished goods; products are taking longer to arrive in stores and fulfillment centers worldwide.
This of course has an impact on how long you have to wait until the product you have bought can be sent.
Manufacturers such as Hasbro have reported supply chain issues and difficulties getting inventory into the United States.
During October, they stated up to 6-week delays over their normal shipping times. If your children have placed a Hasbro toy on their list for Santa, you should order early to ensure that it arrives.
Chinese Goods & imports
Imported goods from China also face delays. A backlog in U.S. ports has caused widespread problems that have even led to big-box retailers such as Target, Costco, and Home Depot chartering their own cargo ships to alleviate the problem.
Chinese imports make up a lot of electronics and consumer goods that are in demand during the holiday season. The important step here is to check that items are in stock with your chosen retailer before you make the order.
Shipping Deadlines and Virtual Mailbox Services
As the forwarding of parcels through a virtual mailbox service involves the major carriers, you need to factor in the above deadlines with any action that you request.
Remember, not all virtual mailbox services have scanning facilities at every address. This means, your item will be delayed by a day or two while it is sent to a depot for processing and becoming visible in your account.
There is also the turnaround time between when you request action to be taken and the package being shipped, (although with a reputable service this is normally a matter of hours).
Essentially, mailbox processing times and the shipment method that you choose all need to be considered in advance when utilizing a mailbox service over the holiday period.
The biggest recommendation is just to complete all your important holiday shipments as soon as possible. We are still in November, you make arrangements now and you will be fine.
Leave it a few weeks more and the pressure will be on. You have been warned. 🙂
For UK-based holiday postage delivery deadlines in 2021, head here.
I’m a 25 year veteran of USPS. I’m retired now, but as the editor of Mailbox Master, I can’t quite remove myself from the carrier industry just yet. 🙂