UPS Holiday Shipping Deadlines

What are the UPS holiday shipping deadlines? Read more below.

If you’re sending out mail to celebrate the holidays, keeping shipping deadlines in mind is critical. You therefore need to check what these are so that your package is sure to arrive in time, and Christmas doesn’t turn into a disappointment. Let’s find out more about shipping deadlines for the holidays! UPS often faces delays around Christmas because of the sheer volume of mail that needs to be shipped. The company therefore needs to implement shipping deadlines to ensure that customers send mail in plenty of time for the holidays. You should find out what these deadlines are before you send mail, or you risk packages not arriving in time for Christmas!


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What Are UPS Holiday Shipping Deadlines?


The UPS holiday shipping deadlines are the deadlines that mailers need to adhere to if they are going to get packages delivered in time for the holiday. If you miss these deadlines, your package may not be delivered before the holiday. This is particularly important for some ecommerce businesses, which may need to ensure that they are sending packages within a good amount of time in order to meet their shipment guarantees. Since a lot of business is done around the holidays and people depend upon gifts they have purchased arriving on time, it’s critical for businesses to use these dates.


Individuals must also adhere to them if they intend their packages to arrive with friends and family on time. If you don’t pay attention to these dates, you may ship a package too late and it will miss the holidays. Bear in mind that certain days around Christmas may not have deliveries, and don’t forget to take weekends into account too. UPS calculates its shipping cutoffs with these delays in mind, so don’t be surprised if they seem cautious, and don’t assume that something will arrive if you send it after the cutoff point.


How Does UPS Choose Holiday Shipping Deadlines?


UPS calculates its holiday shipping deadlines based on a number of factors, including expected package influx, staff availability, holiday dates, and more. The cutoff times may change from year to year, so make sure that you are always checking the most up to date information when you are looking at this. If in doubt, contact your local UPS office to ask about holiday cutoff dates; they should be able to give you the most accurate, up to date information.


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Why Are There Multiple Deadlines?


You may have noticed that there are multiple dates given as the shipping deadline for the Christmas holidays, but bear in mind that UPS offers multiple shipping speeds. It therefore makes sense to have different dates, because if you choose a faster shipping option, it can be sent later, whereas if you choose a slow one, you need to allow more time for it to arrive. For example, if you are sending a package via UPS Ground, a very slow service, it needs to be sent well in advance of the holiday in order to arrive on time. If you are sending a package via UPS Next Day Air, it can be sent a lot later, because it travels so much faster.


Are There Deadlines For Shipping Internationally?


You may be able to find deadlines for shipping internationally, especially to countries that are nearby and commonly shipped to, such as Canada. These will again vary according to the shipping method that you choose, but will ensure that your packages arrive on time. It is wise to leave additional time if you are sending packages internationally. The UPS cutoff dates should help you to determine how much time to leave, but if the package is important, try to build in an additional margin so that the package is more likely to arrive on time.


Will My Package Definitely Arrive If I Send It By The Cutoff Date?


Unfortunately, there are no guarantees when it comes to shipping – something can always go wrong. In theory, if you send a package before the cutoff date, it should arrive with the intended recipient before the holiday. However, if something goes wrong, it is possible that your package won’t be there even if you have sent it in time. A variety of issues can arise, including the mail getting misdirected, temporarily misplaced, or permanently lost. Other problems, including strikes and severe weather conditions, could cause delays.


You should always send packages by the cutoff date to maximize the chances of them arriving in time for the holiday, but be aware that even if you do this, there is not an absolute guarantee of them getting there. As long as nothing goes wrong, they should arrive on time, but otherwise, they may be late. There’s nothing else that you can do to mitigate this, however. Adhering to UPS’s shipping deadlines is the only aspect of mailing that is within your control; you can’t prevent blizzards or lost packages. You should therefore make sure that you send the mail as soon as possible, and most of the time, it will be with the intended recipient for the holiday.


christmas packages


Does UPS Deliver On Christmas Eve?


UPS offers its standard delivery options on Christmas Eve, so mail should arrive as normal unless something changes in the interim. However, UPS Pickup services are limited, and are only available for UPS Air and International Air (if prearranged by the 21st of December). Be aware that packages sent on Christmas Eve are not going to arrive on Christmas day unless you have chosen UPS’s Express Critical service.


Does UPS Deliver On Christmas Day?


Only UPS’s Express Critical service will be delivered on Christmas day; no other services will be running. This includes all other UPS express services, such as Next Day Air. If you want packages to arrive in time for Christmas, use the shipping deadlines to make sure that they reach their destination by Christmas Eve.


Does UPS Deliver On Thanksgiving?


Apart from UPS’s Express Critical service, there are no deliveries on Thanksgiving. Normal pickup and delivery services occur on the days on either side of Thanksgiving, so as long as you send any Thanksgiving packages a day early, they should arrive in time for the holiday.


How Can Businesses Use Shipping Deadlines?


If you run a business that involves mailing packages, you’ll already know how important it is to ensure your customers are happy with your delivery times. If a customer buys something too late, expecting it to be delivered by Christmas, they are likely to be very unhappy if it doesn’t arrive for the holiday. You should therefore take careful note of UPS’s shipping deadlines and use these to create your own ordering deadlines. Remember to build some leeway in to allow yourself time to handle the packages and get them ready for dispatch.


For example, if the last mailing day for UPS for your chosen shipping method is the 20th of December, you need to make sure your cutoff for ordering is the 19th at the latest, assuming that you can pack and ship an item within 24 hours. Do not make the cutoff date the 20th; if somebody orders something at the last minute, you won’t be able to get it to the courier on time. Be realistic about the shipping deadlines and how quickly you can turn orders around, and display this information prominently on your website so that customers are able to order in good time. You may want to build in an extra day to minimize the risk of problems and maximize the chances of items arriving on time, or you might want to offer some expedited fast-turn around options to take advantage of the last-minute shoppers. Either way, making sure that you adhere to the shipping deadlines will ensure that you have satisfied customers unless something goes wrong on UPS’s end, so bear this in mind when creating ordering cutoffs and delivery estimates.


christmas packages


What Are The Christmas Holiday Deadlines For 2022?


If you are getting ready to mail packages for the 2022 holidays, you might be wondering what the deadlines are – so let’s take a look:


  • For UPS Ground Shipping: mail packages by the 16th of December
  • For UPS 3 Day Select: mail packages by the 21st of December
  • For UPS 2nd Day Air: mail packages by the 22nd of December
  • For UPS Next Day Air: mail packages by the 23rd of December


As you can see, if you want to send a package later, you will need to choose a faster and more expensive service. To keep your holiday mailing costs down, try to be organized and get packages out no later than the 16th of December to use the Ground service. This is a lot cheaper than the other options because the packages are transported by road instead of plane.


If you are running a business, you may wish to offer several cutoff dates to correspond with the various shipping options. Be cautious of agreeing to mail packages that won’t arrive until after the holidays, and make sure that customers have to acknowledge this fact before they make a purchase. This will reduce the number of customer complaints that you face.


What Are The New Year Holiday Deadlines For 2022/2023?


UPS tends to pare back its services for New Year as well as for Christmas. There is no service on New Year’s Day (besides the UPS Express Critical), and only limited services on New Year’s Eve. Only air services are delivered, and any pickups must be scheduled by December 18th, so this is pretty limited. If you are sending items around New Year, be aware of these restrictions and the likelihood of delays.


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What Other Holidays Cause Delays?


The other holidays in the US are more minor, both because they are smaller holidays and because they rarely involve the shipping of gifts. Some may do, but it will not be on the same scale as Christmas. However, some of these holidays will still affect shipping speeds and they are important to recognize.


  • Valentine’s Day: normal operations, no effect on shipping speeds
  • President’s Day: normal operations, but UPS Mail Innovations and UPS SurePost will take an extra business day to arrive.
  • Good Friday: normal operations, no effect on shipping speeds
  • Memorial Day: closed except for UPS Critical
  • Independence Day: closed except for UPS Critical
  • Labor Day: mixed closures and availability, most mail must be scheduled in advance


Bear in mind that these may change year on year. The day of the week that the holiday falls on sometimes makes a difference to UPS operations. For example, if it falls on a Saturday or Sunday, this will change what services are available. Always check with your local UPS office for the most up to date information and shipping schedules.


What Happens If You Send Something Too Late?


If you send a package after UPS’s cutoff date, it is likely that the package will not arrive until after the holidays. So much mail is sent around Christmas that it is very common for UPS to experience delays, even with the extra staff that it takes on.


However, it is possible for it to arrive on time even if it has been shipped after the cutoff date. If you are lucky, it will be handled and processed by staff more quickly than anticipated, and arrive with your recipient in time for Christmas. It is unlikely, but perfectly possible, so don’t despair if you have mailed a package too late.


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Anything that can overcome some of the challenges associated with sending and receiving mail is a major benefit, and if you’ve been struggling to get packages signed for or you’ve lost mail to theft because it’s been left on your porch, you might be looking for an alternative solution. That solution could be a Virtual Mailbox from US Global Mail.


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