Time running out to ship gifts in time for Christmas

by mcardinal

Lauren C. Moye, FISM News


Procrastinators beware: the three major U.S. shipping companies have warned that time is running out to get Christmas packages delivered on time.

Where the holidays fall this Christmas season along with the increased demand means that consumers need to consider adding a few extra days for shipping this year as a buffer. This means that deadlines to ship packages to distant families or to finish online shopping might be earlier than expected, especially if you want to reduce the costs you pay in express shipping.

Because Christmas is on a Sunday, the delivery rules of each company are a factor to consider. For example, FedEx does not deliver on Saturdays unless a weekend delivery add-on is purchased for a surcharge of $16 per package.

While UPS will do Saturday deliveries, the boxes also must be marked for this purpose. Another concern is the increased shipping demand as we get closer to Christmas, which can cause additional delays.

In fact, the dates for FedExGround have already passed, leaving express shipments as the only option for this company.

According to their website, the final day to ship with the express saver or three-day freight option is Tuesday, Dec. 20. Shipments can still arrive by Christmas Day by using two-day shipping on Dec. 21 or the one-day option on Dec. 22.

There is an additional option with FedEx of paying for a Saturday delivery. This comes with a surcharge of $16 per package.

UPS has a similar deadline schedule for using their services. However, they have their standard pickup time and delivery service deadline listed as Dec. 19.

Meanwhile, this is the final day to ship Christmas cards for pre-Christmas delivery within the U.S. with normal postage rates, the United States Postal Services (USPS) warns. USPS Retail Ground Service and First-Class Mail Service both have a listed deadline of Dec. 17.

For those who procrastinated too long to get cards labeled or packages sealed, the USPS Priority Mail Service will still be an option until Dec. 19 or the Priority Mail Express Service until Dec. 23.

For those who wait too long, there will be a hefty price to pay for express shipping. A small package under 250 cubic inches shipped from zip code 31061 to 45402 would cost $20.20 with thee-day shipping at UPS. That price goes up to $26.75 for second-day air service, then $42.05 for next-day delivery.