USPS, FedEx release 2021 holiday shipping deadlines

The holiday season will be here before you know it, which means the deadline to send those cards and packages will be too.

Mindful of the desire to make sure Christmas presents arrive before Dec. 25, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and FedEx released this year’s holiday shipping deadlines.

Last holiday season, carriers felt the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic with many Americans opting to ship gifts and hold virtual gatherings.

Even though more than half of the United States has been vaccinated, the pandemic is not over. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) initially recommended virtual gatherings this holiday season, but changed course — promising to deliver revised guidelines soon.

Should Americans repeat 2020’s virtual gatherings, carriers could see a strain on their workload that rivals last year’s. Additionally, USPS announced new service standards for first-class mail and periodicals last week that will slow down deliveries for mail traveling across the country and other long distances.

RELATED: USPS raises prices for holiday season; some deliveries to take longer

To avoid late deliveries, USPS and FedEx recommend shipping packages by the following dates:


  • First-Class Mail service (including greeting cards) — Friday, Dec. 17
  • First-Class packages (up to 15.99 ounces) — Friday, Dec. 17
  • Priority Mail service — Saturday, Dec. 18
  • Priority Mail Express service — Thursday, Dec. 23


  • FedEx Ground Economy — Thursday, Dec. 9
  • FedEx Ground — Wednesday, Dec. 15
  • Home Delivery — Wednesday, Dec. 15
  • Express Saver — Tuesday, Dec. 21
  • 2Day & 2Day AM — Wednesday, Dec. 22
  • Overnight Services — Thursday, Dec. 23
  • FedEx Same Day — Friday, Dec. 24

This story was reported from Atlanta.