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HOUSTON (KIAH) – Christmas is just around the corner. This means it’s time to start shipping gifts to your loved ones. The U.S. Postal Service and UPS have confidence that anything you want to send will get there on time. If you meet the deadlines.

In the words of singer Andy Williams, it’s the most wonderful time of year for many people. For some, it can also be stressful when it comes to shipping packages. There are some key dates for anyone planning to mail a gift this Christmas.

In order for a Christmas delivery for USPS, ground service mail needs to be at the post office by December 15th. For first-class, it’s December 17th and for priority, it’s December 18th. Express shipping services can be mailed out two days before Christmas.

The postal service expects 25-billion letters, cards, and packages to pass through its system from thanksgiving through new year’s day.

According to USPS, they’ve been preparing for this holiday season since last year during the pandemic. in 2020, many people experienced delays with their packages. some packages were taking three weeks to a month to ship.

As for UPS, they say 95% of their packages are delivered on time. This year they expect an influx due to online shopping so it’s better to ship early.

The shipping deadlines for UPS vary by location. For FedEx, it’s December 15th. All carriers also emphasize how important it is to be correct with spelling and numbers. The holidays are not the time to make mistakes that could delay delivery.

With the influx of holiday packages being mailed across the country for Christmas, we’re providing some shipping tips.

The first and most important tip is to ship your packages early. Also, know the cut-off deadlines for your gifts to arrive by Christmas.

Be aware of holiday peak rate increases. Every year, major carriers increase their shipping rates during the holiday season. 

You can also use a rate advisor to compare which carrier has the best shipping rates for you. To save more money, have all of the shipping supplies you need handy. That way you don’t spend extra money on materials at the carrier store.

Lastly, pack smart and purchase insurance. With so many packages being mailed at once there’s a risk for things being broken.