If you want to send gifts by mail to friends and family — or just avoid the holiday shopping rush by shopping online — it's almost time to head to the post office or commit to the items in your virtual shopping cart.

According to Consumer Reports, major retailers anticipate online shopping to be "off the charts" this holiday season, which may burden package delivery systems. Below you'll find the recommended holiday shipping deadlines for expected delivery before Dec. 25.

And as you're calculating gift arrival dates, you may notice shipping fees add up. We've also compiled a few retail companies offering free shipping during the holiday season. 


  • Friday, Dec. 14 — Deadline to send Retail Ground packages

  • Thursday, Dec. 20 — Deadline to send First Class Mail and Priority Mail shipments, which includes greeting cards

  • Saturday, Dec. 22 — Deadline to send Priory Mail Express (packages will arrive in one to two days depending on the destination)


  • Monday, Dec. 10 — Deadline to send FedEx SmartPost shipments

  • Monday, Dec. 17 — Deadline to send FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery shipments

  • Wednesday, Dec. 19 — Deadline to send FedEx Express Saver shipments

  • Thursday, Dec. 20 — Deadline to send FedEx 2Day and FedEx 2Day A.M. shipments

  • Friday, Dec. 21 — Deadline to send FedEx Standard Overnight, FedEx Priority Overnight and FedEx First Overnight

  • Monday, Dec. 24 — Deadline to send FedEx Express and select FedEx Ground shipments


The following shipping deadlines for UPS are expected to arrive at the destination on Monday, Dec. 24.

  • Tuesday, Dec. 18 — Deadline to send UPS 3 Day Select shipments

  • Thursday, Dec. 20 — Deadline to send UPS 2nd Day Air shipments

  • Friday, Dec. 21 — Deadline to send UPS Next Day Air shipments


  • Friday, Dec. 14 — Deadline for standard 5-8 day shipping

  • Friday, Dec. 21 — Deadline for Prime 2-day shipping

  • Friday, Dec. 21 — Deadline for priority shipping

Sources: USPS, FedEx and UPS

Stores offering free shipping

The following companies are offering free shipping during the holiday season:

  • Target — The company is offering free two-day shipping on all orders through Saturday, Dec. 22.

  • Best Buy — You can score free standard shipping through Dec. 25 on all orders.

  • Amazon - The online retail hub is offering free shipping with no minimum purchase amount. Your order will be delivered in 5-8 business days after all items are ready to ship.

  • Walmart — Orders more than $35 have free shipping. The deadline for standard shipping is Dec. 20, and the priority shipping deadline is Dec. 21.

Dylan Skye Aycock is a Nashville-based journalist and photographer. As a reporter for Rover, Aycock follows transportation, housing and retail trends, as well as other hyperlocal and city-wide issues that affect residents in Green Hills and Belle Meade.

She previously contributed written and visual content to The Murfreesboro Pulse, American Songwriter Magazine and The Tennessean. Aycock earned a journalism degree from Middle Tennessee State University, where she honed her craft as editor-in-chief of Sidelines, the university's student-run publication. When she's not out on assignment or live-tweeting city council meetings, you can find her discovering new local spots or catching a show at one of Nashville's many music venues.


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