Shipping deadlines released for 2021; shoppers urged to plan early

Dayton USPS Sales and Service Associate Kim Bowser ships packages Tuesday Nov. 9, 2021. The major carriers have all released their holiday shipping deadlines for 2021. JIM NOELKER/STAFF
Dayton USPS Sales and Service Associate Kim Bowser ships packages Tuesday Nov. 9, 2021. The major carriers have all released their holiday shipping deadlines for 2021. JIM NOELKER/STAFF



Get your packages sent early if you’re planning on shipping holiday gifts this season.

FedEx, UPS and the United States Postal Service have all released the last days they recommend you ship gifts and still have them delivered by Dec. 25 — essentially the same time frames in December as last year.

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However, shoppers should still plan ahead.

There have been shipping problems even pre-holiday. Getting your package is about more than whether the carrier delivers your package on schedule. It can be also about whether the manufacturer is experiencing any global disruptions from COVID-19, whether the ports are backed up, whether the retailer is fully stocked and staffed, and more.

Esther Price Candies each year ships its Dayton-made goods all over the U.S. for holiday orders and is encouraging customers to place their holiday orders as soon as possible because of shipping delays, labor shortages and supply chain concerns.

However, this year they are unable to hold orders to ship for future dates, and are shipping out when the order is processed.

“This is to ensure items are available and your order is fulfilled,” the company said.

Liane Wagner, the owner of Dayton-based sewing business Fairy Godmother Creations, each year gets orders from around the country to repurpose wedding gowns and more into new items like Christmas tree angels.

“Right now is my extreme busy season,” Wagner said.

Wagner said this year she changed the deadline from her usual Dec. 18 for the date the last of the Christmas packages have to be in the mail in order to be in someone’s hands in California by Christmas. This year she is also switching carriers from USPS to UPS and her “drop dead shipping date” is the 16th.

“These are highly emotional gifts, and to not have them arrive on Christmas would be devastating for some of these families,” Wagner said.

The U.S. Postal Service in October started slowing some mail deliveries as part of a larger plan to cut costs. There are also temporary price increases in effect until Dec. 25.

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The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that UPS faces a big test in the coming weeks as it prepares for the busy holiday shipping season that will further challenge the global supply chain and shipping infrastructure.

UPS CEO Carol Tomé had said she expects demand will outpace capacity, and that UPS will limit how much holiday package volume it handles to “control chaos costs” when necessary after enforcing limits last year.

FedEx is also anticipating a high volume shipping season and has said it is adding some surcharges for peak season, similar to UPS.

The major carriers have all released their holiday calendars, which includes the following:

United States Postal Service

Recommended send-by dates for expected delivery before December 25, for the contiguous 48 states:

  • Dec. 15: USPS Retail Ground Service
  • Dec. 17: First-Class Mail Service
  • Dec. 18: Priority Mail® Service
  • Dec. 23: Priority Mail Express Service


Their recommended last days to ship for a Dec. 24 delivery for domestic packages:

  • Check for details on UPS Ground shipping
  • Dec. 21: UPS 3 Day Select
  • Dec. 22: UPS 2nd Day Air services
  • Dec. 23: UPS Next Day Air services


Last day to ship for Dec. 25

  • Dec. 15: FedEx Ground
  • Dec. 21: FedEx Express Saver
  • Dec. 22: 2Day & 2Day AM
  • Dec. 23: FO, PO, SO, Extra Hours
  • Dec. 24: FedEx Same Day

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