The holiday shipping season for 2021 is already expected to be incredibly slow. From understaffed delivery companies to supply chain snags, a perfect storm for major delays is brewing. You can plan now, however, to ensure your holiday gifts get where you want them to be this winter.

If the grandparents in your child's life are anything like mine, they are already full-on panicking about Christmas. I can't tell you how many times I have already heard from my mother and mother-in-law about the expected shipping delays and how I had better start my shopping now. Even though I usually roll my eyes, they are not entirely wrong.

The United States Postal Service recently announced it was slowing its own mail delivery as part of a cost-cutting plan, and both UPS and FedEx are also finding it hard to keep up with current demands. All three delivery companies are advising shoppers to buy and ship early this year and each has already released their recommended ship-by dates.

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With Christmas falling on a Saturday this year, here are the dates for USPS, UPS and FedEx.

USPS Holiday Shipping Dates 2021

Continental United States:

  • 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 for Alaska/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

FedEx Holiday Shipping Dates 2021

  • 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

UPS Holiday Shipping Dates 2021

  • 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 most services due to COVID-19

Not ready to think Christmas? Then check out these spooky SouthCoast yards instead

This Halloween, homeowners all over the SouthCoast have transformed their yards into must-see drive-by displays and walk-through haunts for members of the community to enjoy.