5 things you need to know about the USPS’s deadlines for holiday shipping

For all of us living in the modern world, it’s always a race to get everything for Christmas delivered on time – even if that involves standing in line at Target or returning gifts to stores. For those of us who work in the shipping industry, securing a package on time is essential, as we all know. Fortunately, the U.S. Postal Service has announced the deadlines for holiday shipping. The USPS, which this year is focused on “delivering the most packages for free, on time and with the fastest service anywhere,” is offering free shipping and 1-day delivery on many online retailers’ sites. Here’s what you need to know:

1. USPS Now, in addition to the USPS Priority Mail Guaranteed shipping service (prioritymail.com), you can pay a flat fee of $5.99 for the next-day mailing option. (As with Amazon’s Prime Now, you can also get same-day delivery through the service.) Also worth noting: If you have items delivered to you, that shipping company is responsible for picking it up from your home.

2. In terms of weeks for December delivery, the following days have the least shipping time (December 21, December 22, December 23, December 25, December 26):

EcoDelivery Air (December 21): this option offers the fastest ground delivery, so you can click a button on the checkout page to have your package delivered in 3 business days. The best part? The first 500 packages will be free.

EcoDelivery Fresh (December 21): same thing, same deal. You can sign up to have your items delivered in 2 days or 2-3 business days.

EcoDelivery Fresh Express (December 21): if you need faster ground delivery, this is your best bet. You can click a button to receive your package by 3 days or 3-3.5 business days.

3. Options for same-day shipping don’t appear until December 22:

EcoDelivery Priority (December 22): you can pay $5.99 for same-day delivery for this service.

EcoDelivery Ground (December 22): if you want same-day delivery, this is your best bet. You can click a button to receive your package by 3 days or 3-3.5 business days.

Amazon Prime Now, which offers same-day delivery on orders of $35 or more on certain items, will offer free delivery for an additional $5.99 on all third-party products delivered by the USPS on December 22.

4. For the month of December and the days after Christmas, rest assured – you won’t have to wait for UPS or USPS. FedEx already has guaranteed Sunday delivery this year.

This year, FedEx customers will be able to pay $35 for FedEx Ground 2-Day or First Overnight – which is a $5.99 add-on to normal delivery – on December 22, 24, 31, and January 3. Here’s how that works:

Cancel your Sunday package delivery commitment at 4:30 p.m. EST on the scheduled delivery day, and choose a replacement pick-up time by 1 p.m.

You will still receive that package by the given pick-up time

Other holiday specials

It’s always a good idea to set aside some extra time for holiday shipping, so be sure to think about it when you’re making your plans.

This post was originally published on October 11, 2015.

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