2021 holiday shipping deadlines loom for FedEx, UPS, and USPS

December 7, 2021, 5:23 PM UTC

Last year saw a lot of holiday gifts delayed as shipping companies were overwhelmed. While things seem to be a bit better this year, it’s still a good idea to keep an eye on the deadlines, as they’re coming up sooner than you might think.

The U.S. Postal Service in October enacted new standards that will result in longer transit times, which could put additional pressure on UPS and FedEx as shippers look for alternatives. Meanwhile, holiday shipping cutoff dates vary widely among major retailers, which can be even more frustrating for consumers. (Amazon, Target, and Walmart have not yet posted their 2021 shipping deadlines.)

Keep in mind that when it comes to shipping there are no real guarantees. Amazon’s next-day delivery often takes a bit longer at this time of year. And one unexpected Arctic blast can disrupt things across the country. While these dates are a good guideline, your odds of a successful shipment increase the earlier you send the package.

Shipping deadlines for 2021


Dec. 9 – Ground economy, freight economy

Dec. 15 – Ground, freight priority

Dec. 21 – Express saver, 3-Day Freight

Dec. 22 – FedEx 2 Day, 2-Day Freight

Dec. 23 – FedEx Standard, Priority and First Overnight

Dec. 24 – FedEx SameDay


Dec. 21 – UPS 3-Day Select

Dec. 22 – UPS 2nd Day Air

Dec. 23 – UPS Next Day Air

Ground shipping – Dates vary by location. Head to UPS’s shipping estimator to calculate how long it will take for your package to arrive.

U.S. Postal Service

Dec. 15 – USPS Retail ground service

Dec. 17 – First class mail

Dec. 18 – Priority Mail

Dec. 23 – Priority Mail Express (Dec. 21 for Alaska and Hawaii)

Major retailer shipping deadlines for 2021


Dec. 23 – Last day to order items eligible for one-day delivery

Dec. 24 – Last day to order items eligible for same-day delivery and for free two-hour grocery delivery.


Dec. 21 – Standard shipping

Dec. 23 – Express shipping


Apple’s order deadlines vary widely depending on the product ordered, ranging from Dec. 8 deadline for the iPad Pro to Dec. 22 for recent iPhone models. (If you’re hoping for a MacBook Pro or AirTag, the deadline has already passed. Consult Apple’s website for details.)

Barnes & Noble

Dec. 16 – by 11:59 p.m.

Cole Hahn

Dec. 16 – Ground shipments

Dec. 22 – Two-day shipping

Dec. 23 – Overnight


Dec. 12 – Standard

Dec. 19 – Expedited

Dec. 20 – Rush

Crate & Barrel

Dec. 10 – Standard

Dec. 19 – Premium

Dec. 21 – Express


Dec. 10 – Standard

Famous Footwear

Dec. 15 – Standard

Dec. 20 – Expedited

Dec. 21 – Rush

J. Crew

Dec. 10 at 9 pm – APO/DPO/FPO and U.S. territories

Dec. 12 at 9 pm – P.O. Boxes

Dec. 16 at 9 pm – Orders shipping to Alaska and Hawaii

Dec. 19 at 11:59 pm – Orders for Continental U.S.

L.L. Bean

Like Apple, the deadlines vary depending on your order and where it’s shipping to. It’s already too late for items that include monogramming, but most general orders can ship by Dec. 20. See the Website for details.

Land’s End

Dec. 15 – Standard shipping

New Balance

Dec. 13 – Standard

Dec. 21 – 2-Day

Dec. 22 – Overnight


Dec. 15 – Standard Ground delivery

Dec. 21 – Three-day

Dec. 22 – Two-day

Dec. 23 – Overnight


Dec. 13 – No-Rush shipping

Dec. 15 – Standard

Dec. 21 – Expedited

Dec. 22 – Express

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