All the Shipping Deadlines You Need to Know So Your Holiday Gifts Arrive on Time

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Nothing ruins the magic of the holidays like the perfect gift you spent weeks planning showing up three days after Christmas. Sure, it still arrives, but it’s a bummer. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up some of the key shipping deadlines to know as you embark on holiday shopping. 

Holiday Shipping Deadlines For 2021 At A Glance

Remember last year’s shipping delays? Yep, those are still happening this year. You’ve likely heard rumblings about how pandemic-related supply chain issues are going to negatively impact holiday shopping. Think: low inventory, higher prices and, unfortunately, major shipping delays. Basically, you’re not going to want to wait until the last minute. Here are the basic ground shipping cutoffs for a December 25 arrival from some of the major carriers:

What Are Amazon’s Shipping Deadlines For 2021?

You can technically order Amazon items up until Christmas Eve for a Christmas Day delivery. If you haven’t already, sign up for Amazon Prime to ensure you get these late order delivery options as well as free shipping. Here’s the breakdown on all the shipping deadlines for Amazon orders.

  • December 23: Last day for one-day delivery items (Up to 10 million products)
  • December 24: Last day for same-day delivery items (Several million products)

Be sure to double check the shipping dates mentioned on the items you’re adding to your cart so you know for certain when your things will be at your doorstep. We highly recommend downloading the Amazon app so you can easily see delivery updates. BTW, if you order gifts via the app, you can enter the recipients email address if you don’t know their home address and Amazon will ship to them directly. 


Here’s everything you need to know about shipping cutoffs for orders using USPS to arrive on Christmas Eve.

Contiguous U.S. States:

  • Ground Shipping: December 15
  • First Class: December 17
  • Priority: December 18
  • Priority Mail Express: December 23

Alaska & Hawaii:

  • Ground Shipping: December 2
  • First Class: December 17 (HI), December 18 (AK)
  • Priority: December 17 (HI), December 18 (AK)
  • Priority Mail Express: December 21


If you’re shipping via UPS, here are the deadlines in order to get packages by Christmas Eve.

  • Ground Shipping: Estimated December 16 (Check UPS for details)
  • Three-Day Select: December 21
  • Second-Day Air: December 22
  • Next-Day Air: December 23


Here’s what you need to know about shipping cutoffs for FedEx to receive packages by Christmas Eve.

  • Ground Economy: December 9
  • Ground Shipping: December 15
  • Express Saver: December 21
  • Two-Day Service: December 22
  • Overnight: December 23


For folks using DHL, here are the details for shipping service cutoff dates receive your packages by Christmas Eve.

  • SmartMail Ground: December 11
  • SmartMail Expedited: December 15
  • SmartMail Expedited Max: December 17
  • DHL Economy Select: December 19
  • DHL Express Worldwide: December 22
  • DHL Domestic Express: December 23

Now that you know the deadlines, be sure to take note of what carriers the sites you’re shopping with ship their packages through to make sure your boxes will arrive by the time you need them.

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Commerce Editor

Olivia Dubyak is PureWow's Commerce Editor and textbook Capricorn. She studied journalism at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but has gone from New York City to...