Deadline close for shipping gifts in time for Christmas

Upcoming deadlines: What to know about shipping holiday packages

The holiday shopping season has commenced, and more packages are being shipped and delivered to homes across the U.S. than ever before.

Shipping services — like FedEx, United Parcel Service (UPS) and the United States Postal Service — have reminded customers to be aware of delivery deadlines. There are some ways consumers can assure their gifts arrive at their destination in tact and on time before Christmas.

FedEx Deadlines:

• FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery will not deliver on Saturday, Dec. 24.

• On Monday, Dec. 19, FedEx Home Delivery will be unavailable. FedEx Freight no-fee, money-back guarantee is suspended for shipments with required delivery dates of Monday, Dec. 19, 2016, through Jan. 3, 2017.

• FedEx First Overnight, FedEx Priority Overnight and FedEx 2Day will deliver on Saturday, Dec. 24. A $16 Saturday delivery fee will apply per package. For residential shipments using these services, UPS extends the time for delivery to 8 p.m. These shipments must be tendered by Friday, Dec. 23 in order to receive Saturday delivery. FedEx SameDay services and some of our other expedited services allow customers to ship on Christmas Day or any other day of the year. FedEx SameDay is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for your most urgent shipments.

• All services (except 24/7/365 services) are unavailable on Christmas.

To figure out how much your package will cost to ship, you can use FedEx’s rate finder. To confirm whether a service area is affected due to weather or other conditions, call 1.800.463.3339. For more details on the FedEx holiday schedule, view it here.

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UPS Deadlines:

• Dec. 19: This is the last day to ship via “UPS 3-Day Select” to be delivered before Christmas Day (delivery on Friday, Dec. 23).

• Dec. 22: This is the last day to ship “UPS 2-Day Air” packages to be delivered before Christmas Day. Customers must use the Saturday delivery option for the package to arrive on Dec. 24.

• Dec. 25: No UPS pickup or delivery services.

• Dec. 26: No UPS pickup or delivery services.

To figure out how much your package will cost to ship, you can create a shipment online. For more details on the UPS schedule, view it here.

RELATED: Shipping companies brace for delivery jump for holiday gifts

U.S. Postal Service Deadlines:

The Postal Service recommends mailing and shipping by the following dates before Christmas:

• Nov. 7: This is the deadline for APO/FPO/DPO (military and diplomatic mail) retail ground shipping to be delivered by Christmas.

• Dec. 9: This is the final day for APO/FPO/DPO (military and diplomatic mail) priority mail and first class mail to be delivered by Christmas.

• Dec. 15: This is the final day to use USPS retail ground shipping to be delivered by Christmas.

• Dec. 20: This is the final day to use First-Class Mail to be delivered by Christmas.

• Dec. 21: This is the last day to use Priority Mail to be delivered by Christmas.

• Dec. 23: This is the last day to use Priority Mail Express to be delivered by Christmas.

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Tips

To make sure your packages are secure and arrive on time, UPS and FedEx have offered some tips to help consumers.

• Compare the cost of using different services. The expense may differ due to your location and where you’re shipping it, what day you choose to send it, and the size of the package. UPS, USPS and FedEx all allow you to estimate how much your package will cost to send, so do your research.

• A 2015 study from the Princeton Survey Research Associates International showed about 23 million Americans have had packages stolen from their front porches or mailboxes. Be sure to track your package to see where it’s at and when it will arrive. If you’re sending it to someone else, alert them when it is expected to be delivered.

• Make sure to use the right size box when you ship your item. Use a box customized to the weight and size of the package you’re sending. Reused boxes are more likely to tear in the rain or snow.

• Consider double-boxing if your item is especially fragile, and then use bubble wrap around the item. Do not stack heavier items on top of lighter items when you put two items in one box.

• Leave about two inches of space on all sides around the item being shipped.

• Use the right type of tape on the packaging. Three-inch wide tape is optimal to use, and it should cover all open seams.

• If you’re packaging perishable items like chocolate, fruit or meat, it should be shipped in a polystyrene cooler with dry ice inside a corrugated box. It needs to be marked with “Dry Ice” on the outside of the box with the wight of the dry ice and the type of product inside.

Want more tips and information for the holiday season? Contact reporter Kara Driscoll at kara.driscoll@coxinc.com.

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