Christmas Shipping Deadlines 2021: USPS, UPS, FedEx, and DHL

You need reminders about upcoming shipping deadlines during the busy holiday season.
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Last update:

June 22, 2023

It’s that time of year when we look at the recommended last days to ship for on-time delivery by Christmas with the USPS, UPS, FedEx, and DHL.    

Same as last year, the 2021 holiday shopping will be affected by Covid-19. As usual, the lead-up to Christmas is still the busiest time for the Postal Service. 

Because UPS and FedEx were able to limit the intake of shipments, it allowed them to better manage the number of packages needed for shipping and delivery.

When UPS and FedEx started not accepting every package from their larger shippers, many online merchants started dumping orders to USPS. This only made things worse for the Postal Service, and it took a long time to clear the backlog.

So, during the busy holiday season, you really need some reminders about upcoming shipping deadlines and planning ahead.

Let’s take a look at the 2021 holiday shipping deadlines:

USPS Holiday Shipping Deadlines

Contiguous U.S. (Lower 48 States)

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


  • USPS Retail Ground: Dec. 18
  • First-Class Mail: Dec. 18
  • Priority Mail: Dec. 21
  • Priority Mail Express: Dec. 2


  • USPS Retail Ground: Dec. 17
  • First-Class Mail: Dec. 17
  • Priority Mail: Dec. 21
  • Priority Mail Express: N/A

International Mail

We strongly advise shippers to check the news about the disruption and suspension of USPS international services. Almost all mail services are currently suspended to Australia and New Zealand. Additional delays may also occur for shipments to Europe due to new import rules.


UPS Holiday Shipping Deadlines

US Domestic

  • UPS Ground: Ground shipping may take 1 to 7 business days. You can use the UPS Time and Cost calculator to find the last shipping date. Typically, December 14-16 is a good range for the last day to ship with Ground.
  • UPS 3 Day Select: Dec. 21
  • UPS 2nd Day Air: Dec. 22
  • UPS Next Day Air: Dec. 23*

*Effective October 18, 2021 and until further notice, UPS is making the following operational adjustments: Delivery commitment times for UPS Next Day Air destined to residential locations with a typical delivery time of 10:30 AM will be extended to 12:00 PM. 

See the UPS website for shipping schedules for Canada and Mexico.

UPS is closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. There is no pickup or delivery service on these days.

FedEx Holiday Shipping Deadlines

US Domestic

  • FedEx Ground: Dec. 15
  • FedEx Express Saver: Dec. 21
  • FedEx 2-Day: Dec. 22
  • FedEx Overnight: Dec. 23
  • FedEx Same Day: Dec. 24

US to Canada

  • FedEx Ground to Canada: Dec. 13
  • FedEx International Economy: Dec. 17
  • FedEx International Priority: Dec. 18
  • FedEx International First: Dec. 23
  • FedEx Next Flight: Dec. 24

See the FedEx website for shipping schedules for Mexico and Puerto Rico. We strongly suggest to first check the FedEx Rate Finder to determine if a shipment can still make it on time. 


DHL Express Holiday Shipping Deadlines
  • DHL Express Worldwide: Dec. 22
  • DHL Economy Select: Dec. 19


Final Words

Everyone hopes for a smoother 2021 holiday shipping season but as we noted earlier.

Make sure that you plan early and align your buyer's shipping needs with this shipping holiday schedule. And it’s best not to wait until the last day to hope a shipment makes it on time by Christmas.

Sign up for a free ShipSaving account to scale your shipping!

Written on:

October 19, 2021
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