Want to beat the Christmas rush? Here are key shipping deadlines for the holidays

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Free shipping day: Key ordering dates for the holidays
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With the annual holiday shopping frenzy here, those of us who would rather shop online than brave long lines in chilly temperatures need to be aware of key ordering dates for the holidays.

The stakes are especially high this holiday season. Online spending this holiday is expected to see a nearly 15% increase to $124 billion, according to a forecast by Adobe Analytics, a company that tracks transactions from top retailers.

Ordering gifts in time for the holidays? Know these key dates

That means that if you wait too long to order your goods online, you run the risk of being empty handed when it comes time to exchange gifts. To help online shoppers, retailers are offering free shipping or dropping their purchase minimums.

Many have also banded together like in years past to offer “free shipping day,” set for December 14, 2018. This is the ship-by date that retailers are guaranteeing that your packages will be delivered in time for Christmas.

Of course, delays are quite common around this time. UPS has already announced that its shipping schedule in parts of Southern California is being affected by the wildfires.

Here are some other key dates to keep in mind:

Here is the UPS 2018 holiday shipping schedule

  • UPS 2nd Day Air: Thursday, December 20 (delivery on Monday, December 24)
  • UPS Next Day Air: Friday, December 21 (delivery on Monday, December 24)

For the most accurate appraisal of when your specific package will arrive at its destination, UPS is encouraging customers to log on to see its Calculate Time & Cost tool.

Here is the U.S. Postal Service 2018 holiday shipping schedule

The USPS recommends mailing and shipping on the following key dates for expected delivery by December 25:

USPS Retail Ground Friday, December 14
APO/FPO/DPO (except ZIP Code 093) USPS Priority Mail Express Tuesday, December 18
First-Class Mail (including greeting cards), Priority Mail Thursday, December 20
Alaska to mainland Priority Mail and First-Class Mail Thursday, December 20
Alaska & Hawaii to mainland Priority Mail Express Saturday, December 22
Priority Mail Express (includes Alaska & Hawaii to mainland) Saturday, December 22

Here is the 2018 holiday shipping schedule for FedEx

SmartPost Monday, December 10
Ground Friday, December 14
Home Delivery Monday, December 17
Express Saver Wednesday, December 19
2-Day Services Thursday, December 20
Overnight Services Friday, December 21
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Craig Johnson is a conscious money-saver who still reads paperback books and listens to vinyl. He likes to write about how technology is making things easier and more affordable — but also sometimes more dangerous — for the modern consumer. You can reach Craig at [email protected]
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