“It’s getting late early.”The well-known Yogi Berra quip aptly describes this holiday season. With Christmas still two weeks away, the deadlines for shipping gifts or ordering products online are approaching in just days especially in light of last year’s holiday shipping nightmare.As record numbers of people spent the holidays apart in 2020, a last-minute shipping meltdown meant millions of presents did not make it to their destinations until early 2021. Still, the three major package carriers have not changed their holiday deadlines this year.”We’re expecting a similar surge to that, but this year we’re much more prepared for it,” said Steve Doherty, a spokesperson for the U.S. Postal Service. “We have all of the technology, the equipment, the facilities and the resources in place to make sure we’re successful.”FedEx, UPS and the U.S. Postal Service all say customers should be fine shipping the week of Dec. 13. That’s generally the same time period as last year.The most important day to remember is Dec. 15, the ground cutoff for both FedEx and the Postal Service. UPS says their exact deadline depends upon where customers are shipping to, and coast-to-coast ground typically takes about a week.But experts say it’s better to get those gifts out earlier than the deadlines, this week if possible.”I do think it’s a good idea to start even earlier than the carriers are saying,” says Ted Rossman, a senior analyst at CreditCards.com. “They may say you’re going to get it before Christmas but why cut it that close?”Rossman said the other big date to keep in mind is Tuesday, Dec. 14, which is known as “free shipping day” among retailers. The concept generally pre-dates the widespread adoption of free shipping among online retailers, but it is still generally the last day someone can order something online and get it delivered by Christmas without paying for faster shipping.Like last year, there are still a lot of unknowns, including weather or a crush of last-minute packages. “I would take all of this with a grain of salt because these guarantees are really only as good as the paper they’re printed on,” Rossman said. “I would build in extra time to whatever Amazon or any other retailer is telling you because at this point, the days are dwindling.”

“It’s getting late early.”

The well-known Yogi Berra quip aptly describes this holiday season. With Christmas still two weeks away, the deadlines for shipping gifts or ordering products online are approaching in just days especially in light of last year’s holiday shipping nightmare.

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As record numbers of people spent the holidays apart in 2020, a last-minute shipping meltdown meant millions of presents did not make it to their destinations until early 2021. Still, the three major package carriers have not changed their holiday deadlines this year.

“We’re expecting a similar surge to that, but this year we’re much more prepared for it,” said Steve Doherty, a spokesperson for the U.S. Postal Service. “We have all of the technology, the equipment, the facilities and the resources in place to make sure we’re successful.”

FedEx, UPS and the U.S. Postal Service all say customers should be fine shipping the week of Dec. 13. That’s generally the same time period as last year.

The most important day to remember is Dec. 15, the ground cutoff for both FedEx and the Postal Service. UPS says their exact deadline depends upon where customers are shipping to, and coast-to-coast ground typically takes about a week.

But experts say it’s better to get those gifts out earlier than the deadlines, this week if possible.

“I do think it’s a good idea to start even earlier than the carriers are saying,” says Ted Rossman, a senior analyst at CreditCards.com. “They may say you’re going to get it before Christmas but why cut it that close?”

Rossman said the other big date to keep in mind is Tuesday, Dec. 14, which is known as “free shipping day” among retailers. The concept generally pre-dates the widespread adoption of free shipping among online retailers, but it is still generally the last day someone can order something online and get it delivered by Christmas without paying for faster shipping.

Like last year, there are still a lot of unknowns, including weather or a crush of last-minute packages.

“I would take all of this with a grain of salt because these guarantees are really only as good as the paper they’re printed on,” Rossman said. “I would build in extra time to whatever Amazon or any other retailer is telling you because at this point, the days are dwindling.”

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