Watch CBS News

Christmas shipping deadlines: When to buy gifts to avoid delays

Woman shopping for Christmas presents online
Christmas shipping deadlines are nearing, but you still have time to pick up that perfect gift. Getty Images

If you don't want to spend an arm and a leg on shipping your Christmas gifts, now is the time to mail those final packages. Some deadlines for ground service have already passed, but everything can still be delivered in time depending on how much you want to shell out.

Find the shipping deadlines for USPS, FedEx and UPS ahead, plus information on in-store pickup and same-day delivery programs at your favorite retailers. 


Continental U.S.:

  • December 15: USPS retail ground service
  • December 17: First-class mail service (including holiday greeting cards)
  • December 17: First-class packages (up to 15.99 ounces)
  • December 18: Priority mail service
  • December 23: Priority mail express service

USPS For Air/Army/Fleet/Diplomatic post office addresses:

  • November 6: Retail ground service
  • December 9 : Priority mail and first-class mail
  • December 16: Priority mail express military service

USPS Alaska and Hawaii:

  • December 17: Hawaii to/from mainland - priority mail and first-class mail
  • December 18: Alaska to/from Continental U.S. - first-class and priority mail
  • December 21: Alaska to/from Continental U.S. and Hawaii to/from mainland - priority mail express


  • December 9: ground economy
  • December 15: ground and home delivery
  • December 21: express saver
  • December 22: two day and two-day am
  • December 23: overnight services
  • December 24: same day


  • Ground shipping, check the website for a quote
  • December 22: second-day air services
  • December 23: next-day air services
  • December 25: no pickup service, UPS holiday
  • Note: UPS service guarantee still suspended for some services due to COVID-19

In-store pickup

When in doubt, try reserving what you want online and picking it up in-store yourself. Walmart, Target, Best Buy and other retailers offer this option.


Prime members have the largest next-day delivery selection of any retailer in the U.S. Amazon will deliver packages through Dec. 24.


Walmart offers free two-day delivery on millions of items with no delivery fee. Free next-day delivery on orders of $35 or more is also available in qualifying ZIP codes. Walmart even recently extended its delivery times two hours to 10 p.m.

If you sign up for Walmart+, you can also get unlimited free delivery from your store, free delivery with no order minimum and more.

Best Buy

Best Buy offers free next-day delivery on qualifying products (a $35 minimum purchase is required) and free standard shipping on orders $35 and up on qualifying items. 

Plus, become a Best Buy Totaltech member for free two-day shipping and more.

Related content from CBS Essentials:

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.