Skip to content

USPS Holiday Shipping Deadlines: Don’t Miss the Dates!

The holidays are a time for joy, togetherness, and, of course, gift-giving. But with the hustle and bustle of the season, it’s easy to forget about shipping deadlines. Missing these deadlines can lead to delayed deliveries, causing disappointment for both the sender and the recipient. To ensure your gifts arrive on time and your holiday spirit remains bright, knowing the USPS holiday shipping deadlines is crucial. This comprehensive guide will provide you with all the information you need to navigate the holiday shipping season with ease.

Table of Contents

Key Dates for USPS Domestic Shipping

Priority Mail

Priority Mail offers a variety of shipping options for domestic packages, ranging from Priority Mail Express, which provides the fastest delivery, to Priority Mail and First-Class Mail, which offer more budget-friendly options.

Domestic Shipping Deadlines (for delivery by December 25th):

Mail Class Deadline
Priority Mail Express December 23rd
Priority Mail December 17th
First-Class Mail December 17th

Keep in mind that these deadlines are for packages shipped within the contiguous United States. For shipments to Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and other U.S. territories, the deadlines may vary. Check the USPS website for the most up-to-date information.

Retail Ground

Retail Ground is the most affordable shipping option offered by USPS. While it may take longer than other mail classes, it can be a suitable choice for less time-sensitive packages.

Domestic Shipping Deadline (for delivery by December 25th):

Mail Class Deadline
Retail Ground December 15th

USPS International Shipping Deadlines

International Priority Mail

For international shipments, the deadlines vary significantly based on the destination country. Here are some key deadlines for major destinations, but remember to check the USPS website for the most up-to-date information and a comprehensive list of countries.

International Shipping Deadlines (for delivery by December 25th):

Destination Deadline
Canada December 16th
Mexico December 16th
Europe December 10th
Australia December 10th
Asia December 10th
South America December 10th
Africa December 10th

International First-Class Mail

International First-Class Mail is a budget-friendly option for international shipments, but it has limitations in terms of weight and delivery time. Deadlines for International First-Class Mail are typically earlier than those for International Priority Mail. Consult the USPS website for specific deadlines.

Tips for Avoiding Shipping Delays

Plan Ahead

  • Start early: Avoid last-minute stress by starting your holiday shopping early.
  • Factor in shipping time: Consider the shipping time for each destination and choose a shipping method that provides adequate delivery time.
  • Consider alternatives: If you’re worried about missing deadlines, explore alternative shipping options, such as expedited services or overnight delivery.

Package Properly

  • Secure packaging: Use sturdy boxes and packing materials to protect fragile items.
  • Label clearly: Ensure your package is labeled with the correct address, including zip code, and a return address.
  • Follow size and weight restrictions: Be aware of USPS size and weight limitations to avoid delays or additional charges.

Track Your Shipment

  • Use USPS tracking: Utilize the USPS tracking system to monitor the progress of your shipments and stay informed of their status.
  • Provide tracking numbers: Share the tracking number with the recipient so they can also monitor the package’s journey.

Utilize USPS Services

  • Priority Mail Express: This service offers the fastest delivery time for both domestic and international shipments, ensuring your gifts arrive promptly.
  • Signature Confirmation: Request Signature Confirmation for valuable items to ensure delivery is confirmed by the recipient.

FAQ: Common Questions & Answers

Q1: What happens if I miss the deadline?

If you miss the deadline, your package may be delayed, especially during the peak holiday season. It may also result in additional shipping costs.

Q2: Can I still ship my package after the deadline?

You can still ship after the deadline, but it may come with additional costs and longer delivery times. The USPS website can provide information on available options for shipping after the deadline.

Q3: How can I find the exact deadline for my specific destination?

The USPS website provides a comprehensive guide to holiday shipping deadlines, allowing you to look up the deadline for your specific destination and mail class.

Q4: Are there any exceptions to the deadlines?

Deadlines may vary based on the origin, destination, and specific mail class. Check the USPS website for the most up-to-date information and any exceptions.


Navigating the holiday shipping season can be a challenge, but understanding USPS holiday shipping deadlines is key to ensuring timely deliveries and a stress-free experience. By planning ahead, packaging properly, and utilizing the resources available, you can confidently send your holiday gifts with peace of mind. Remember to share this information with your friends and family so they can also avoid shipping delays and enjoy a happy holiday season.