Don’t Pay Rush Fees! Here’s When to Ship Your Packages so They Arrive by Christmas

holiday shipping
Sean Locke Photography under Creative Commons

Here’s a simple way to save money this holiday season: Avoid unnecessary shipping costs.

If you’re sending gifts to friends and family away from home, do it early. You still have plenty of time to get packages to your loved ones before Christmas without paying extra for expedited shipping.

To help you plan ahead, we’ve rounded up standard shipping deadlines for the major postal services.

Note: Deadlines are for delivery by Dec. 24 within the continental U.S., unless otherwise noted.

U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Free Shipping Deadline

Ship by Dec. 15 via Standard Post or Media Mail for standard rates.

Standard Post is the most common service for gifts and merchandise. Prices are based on delivery distance and the weight of your package(s). You’ll use Media Mail for books, film and printed materials of several pages.

For holiday cards and other envelopes or lightweight packages you can mail with a regular First Class postage stamp, ship by Dec. 19.

For later deadlines and expedited shipping rates, visit

United Parcel Service (UPS) Free Shipping Deadline

Ship before Dec. 18 via UPS Ground or UPS 3 Day Select.

UPS Ground delivers in one-to-five business days, depending on distance to destination (includes Christmas Eve delivery). UPS 3 Day Select delivers by end-of-day on the third business day (no Christmas Eve delivery).

For later deadlines and expedited shipping rates, see the UPS 2015 Year-End Holiday Schedule.

FedEx Free Shipping Deadline

Ship by Dec. 16 via FedEx Ground or Home Delivery.

FedEx Ground delivers in one to five business days, depending on your location in the continental U.S. See this handy map for delivery times in your area.

FedEx Home Delivery offers faster delivery to residential addresses. Ship packages up to 70 lbs for delivery within one-to-five business days plus Saturdays.

For later deadlines and expedited shipping rates, visit

Save Money on Stamps

Sticking with cards this holiday season? Save money on stamps, too, with our simple tricks.

Happy Holidays, Penny Hoarders!

Your Turn: Are you shipping holiday gifts this year? What tricks do you use to save money on shipping?

Dana Sitar (@danasitar) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s written for The Huffington Post,, Writer’s Digest and more.

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