Here’s When To Order Your Gifts To Make Sure Each One Arrives In Time For Christmas

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If you haven't already finished ordering your holiday gifts, it's time to get on that. Time is of the essence because these 2018 holiday shipping deadlines are coming up quick. With roughly one week until Christmas Day, stores are encouraging customers to place holiday orders ASAP. If you don't order soon, you run the risk of not getting your presents in time. Here's when to order by to make sure your presents arrive with plenty of time.

First up on the list is the U.S. Postal Service. (I want to talk about this one real quick because there is a possible government shutdown looming in the future.) As of now, the deadline for a shutdown is Friday, Dec. 21. Because the postal service is an extension of the executive branch of the government, you might be worried that a shutdown could impact the postal service's ability to deliver packages by Christmas. Luckily, that is not the case — the postal service is an independent agency which operates on its own budget rather than tax funds. Phew.

So, as long as you order (or ship) your present by Thursday, Dec. 20, it should arrive by Monday, Dec. 24 (Christmas Eve). Make sure to select the Priority Mail Option. If you miss this deadline, the postal service is offering one last opportunity to get your present by Christmas Eve. All Priority Mail Express orders must be shipped no later than Saturday, Dec. 22, according to the postal service.

The 2018 holiday shipping deadlines for UPS are also fast-approaching. According to the company, these are the dates you need to keep in mind to make sure you get your gifts in time for Christmas morning:

  • UPS 2nd Day Air by Thursday, Dec. 20 (for delivery on Monday, Dec. 24)
  • UPS Next Day Air by Friday, Dec. 21 (for delivery on Monday, Dec. 24)
  • UPS On-Call Pickup for UPS Next Day Air by Saturday, Dec. 22 (for delivery on Monday, Dec. 24)

Finally, the third major holiday shipping deadline you should be aware of comes from FedEx. FedEx Express orders must be placed by Saturday, Dec. 22 for delivery by the end of the day on Monday, Dec. 24. The last day for FedEx Ground holiday shipping is Friday, Dec. 21. Of course, the longer you wait to order, the higher your chances of not receiving your package in time to wrap and put under the tree. If you miss these deadlines, you'll have to wait until after Christmas to give out the gifts you ordered.

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season can be an extremely busy time of the year for all shipping companies. According to USPS, the postal service will deliver nearly 900 million packages between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day this year. More specifically, the postal service points out that the week of Dec. 17 - 23 (aka right now) is the busiest mail week of the year. That's no small feat, folks. Everyone is ordering presents and sending gifts, so the sooner your order is mailed out, the better. With such a large influx of packages, it's possible that more than a few will get lost in the mix.

If you've opened up your email recently, you've probably noticed more than a few "order now" type of emails from some of your favorite stores. Most online retailers are pretty heavily advertising specific holiday shipping cutoff dates. For example, Wednesday, Dec. 19 is the last day before Christmas to get standard shipping on Amazon orders. For Prime members, the final day for free two-day shipping is Saturday, Dec. 22. Amazon also offers one-day shipping or same-day shipping may also be available for certain items depending on where you live.

Basically, you should order your final holiday gifts now. The clock is ticking.