I get it. You still have Halloween candy in the snack bowl, and you now need to think about shipping deadlines for your holiday gifts? Don’t worry. You’re not behind schedule, but because Christmas falls on a Monday this year you might want keep these dates handy because they’re a day or two earlier than normal.
Hanukkah starts Thursday, Dec. 7, Christmas is Monday, Dec. 25, and Kwanzaa begins Dec. 26, a Tuesday. Every year, the major shipping and delivery companies announce their holiday deadlines — usually focused on Christmas — and we’ve collected those dates below.
Here are the 2023 Christmas shipping schedules for the major American package delivery services. If you’re looking for great present suggestions, check out CNET’s favorite holiday gift picks and these early-bird shopping picks.
FedEx shipping deadlines to arrive by Dec. 25, 2023
With Christmas falling on a Monday this year, you can’t get overnight delivery from FedEx on Christmas Eve. Instead, you’ll have to ship FedEx SameDay on that Friday, Dec. 22, to get your package there before Christmas. FedEx Express Saver, 2Day and 3Day deadlines are all the week before Christmas and FedEx Ground is two weeks before, on Dec. 15.
Here are the dates FedEx recommends you ship by (PDF) to have your packages arrive on or before Dec. 25 in the US.
FedEx holiday shipping deadlines
|Domestic service||Ship date|
|Express Saver||Dec. 19|
|2Day and 2Day AM*||Dec. 20|
|First Overnight and Priority Overnight*||Dec. 21|
* 2Day, First Overnight and Priority Overnight can be sent one day later with optional Saturday Delivery surcharge for $16 per package.
UPS shipping deadlines to arrive by Dec. 25, 2023
Similarly to FedEx, UPS shipping deadlines are all about a day earlier than normal. You’ll need to send your very latest packages by Dec. 21 to make sure they arrive by Dec. 25. Here are UPS’ recommended shipping dates (PDF) for Christmas 2023.
UPS holiday shipping deadlines
|Domestic service||Ship date|
|Ground||Check the UPS website for deadlines|
|3-Day Select||Dec. 19|
|2nd Day Air||Dec. 20|
|Next Day Air||Dec. 21|
USPS shipping deadlines for Dec. 25, 2023
The US Post Service deadlines for shipping packages for Christmas are also a day or so earlier than last year. Here are the dates the post office recommends you circle on your calendar if you want your packages to arrive before Dec. 25.
USPS holiday shipping deadlines
|Domestic service||Date (excluding Alaska and Hawaii)||Date for Alaska||Date for Hawaii|
|USPS Retail Ground||Dec. 16||Dec. 16||Dec. 16|
|First-Class Mail||Dec. 16||Dec. 16||Dec. 16|
|Priority Mail||Dec. 18||Dec. 18||Dec. 16|
|Priority Mail Express||Dec. 20||Dec. 20||Dec. 20|
Amazon estimated shipping deadlines for Dec. 25, 2023
You can cut some time out of the shopping and mailing process by ordering straight from Amazon and shipping the package directly to someone — as long as you have their address. Amazon often waits until much closer to Christmas before it lists its holiday shipping deadlines, but we can extrapolate the deadline this year from previous shipping dates for preceding holiday seasons.
Note that these are estimated delivery dates. If it were us, we might not risk everything on those one-day and same-day delivery dates and instead send a e-Gift certificate. All shipping dates except for e-Gift cards and free shipping in five to eight days are exclusively for Prime members. Each Amazon product listing page will also provide an estimated shipping date.
Amazon holiday shipping deadlines
|Shipping type||Deadline to buy||Date delivered|
|Free shipping||Dec. 14||Dec. 23|
|2-day shipping (Prime)||Dec. 22||Dec. 24|
|1-day shipping (Prime)||Dec. 23||Dec. 24|
|Same day delivery (Prime)||Dec. 24||Dec. 24|
|e-Gift card delivery||Dec. 25||Dec. 25|
How to ship packages to arrive in time for Hanukkah or Kwanzaa this year
Shipping companies don’t list specific deadlines for Hanukkah or Kwanzaa. However, it’s not too hard to estimate the dates you’ll need to ship by to have your packages arrive on time.
For Kwanzaa, you can basically use the dates for Christmas. Kwanzaa starts on Dec. 26. If you want any Kwanzaa packages to arrive before the holiday begins, use the shipping deadlines for Christmas.
Hanukkah started in 2023 on Dec. 7 and runs through Dec. 15. If you want to ship a package that arrives by the final night, you’ll back up those dates about 10 days.
Nothing is guaranteed, and storms and package supply shortage may result in shipping delays, as has happened a few years ago.
To make sure your packages stay delivered, here’s how to guard against porch pirates. And here are some cool gifts for under $100.