Here’s exactly how to make sure your holiday gifts arrive on time


The holiday season can already be stressful as a parent. Throw in a pandemic, changed plans and tighter budgets and it can feel completely overwhelming. The one thing you shouldn’t have to stress about? Making sure your gifts or cards arrive before the holidays.

As a reminder, Hanukkah is December 10-18, Christmas is December 25 and Kwanzaa is December 26-January 1.

Knowledge is power, right? So we did the research for you to make sure you know when the absolute latest you can place orders at your favorite stores. Peace of mind? Check.

Here’s the holiday shipping guidelines and last-day-to-order-by dates for 2020. We’ll be updating as we find more! :

UPS, USPS and FedEx holiday shipping deadlines

UPS: To arrive by December 24th
  • December 15: Deadline for UPS Ground
  • December 21: Deadline for UPS 3 Day Select
  • December 22: Deadline for UPS 2nd Day Air
  • December 23: Deadline for UPS Next Day Air
  • December 25: Closed, but can use UPS Express Critical
USPS: To arrive before December 25th
  • December 15: Deadline for USPS Retail Ground
  • December 18: Deadline for First-Class Mail
  • December 19: Deadline for Priority Mail
  • December 23: Deadline for Priority Mail Express
FedEx: To arrive by December 25th
  • December 9: Deadline for SmartPost
  • December 15: Deadline for Home Delivery and FedEx Ground
  • December 21: Deadline for Express Saver and 3Day Freight
  • December 22: Deadline for 2Day shipping services
  • December 23: Deadline for 1Day and overnight shipping services
  • December 25: Deadline for SameDay shipping services

If you’re buying gifts:

Keep in mind, most places offer same-day in-store or curbside pickup at store, but if you’re having gifts shipped, keep these key dates in mind.

  • Loft: To get by 12/24, standard shipping by 12/19 or next-day shipping by 12/22
  • Walmart: Free two-day shipping on purchases $35+
  • Target: Free same-day delivery on orders $35+ (with Shipt membership) or for a fee without
  • Amazon: Order with free two-day shipping by 12/21 to get by 12/24
  • Tea Collection: Standard shipping is 6-12 business days so order by 12/8 to guarantee delivery by 12/24
  • Carter’s: Offers curbside pickup, overnight and expedited shipping.
  • Macy’s: Free shipping on orders $25+, order by 12/18 to guarantee delivery by 12/24
  • L.L. Bean: Free shipping on orders $50+, order by 12/19 to guarantee delivery by 12/24
  • Nordstrom: Free shipping with holiday delivery on orders placed before noon 12/22
  • Sephora: Free standard shipping on orders placed before 12/17 at 9am

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