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Master Your Holiday Deliveries: Tips and Deadlines for 2023 Gifts and Parcels

The holiday season is fast approaching, and with it comes the need for holiday delivery of gifts and packages to loved ones near and far. Ensuring that these precious parcels arrive on time and intact can be a challenge, especially given the multitude of shipping options and deadlines to navigate. But fear not! This comprehensive guide will walk you through the essential shipping schedules, deadlines, and tips to help you master your holiday delivery in 2023.

From major carriers like FedEx, UPS, and USPS, to alternative delivery options and last-minute shipping solutions, we’ve got you covered. So, let’s get started on making this holiday season a stress-free and memorable one!

Key Takeaways

  • Plan ahead and take advantage of discounted shipping rates to ensure packages reach their destinations on time.
  • Utilize smart technology, collaborate with local post offices, optimize delivery instructions, and use virtual mailbox services to prevent package theft this holiday season.
  • Take advantage of express services or Saturday shipping options for last minute gifts. Utilize “Ship To Store” services or workplace deliveries for added convenience.

Navigating 2023 Holiday Shipping Schedules

Woman checking holiday calendar schedule

Meeting holiday shipping deadlines is imperative for your gifts and parcels to arrive in time for the celebrations. With FedEx, UPS, and USPS all providing their respective shipping dates for Christmas 2023, it’s essential to plan ahead and choose the most suitable delivery method for your needs. Don’t forget that international services can also be affected by the holiday rush, so it’s wise to factor in potential delays and account for additional transit time.

While it’s tempting to focus solely on the major carriers, savvy shoppers can also take advantage of discounted shipping rates offered by platforms that cater to major online retailers. With proper knowledge and preparation, you can navigate the holiday shipping season smoothly and ensure that your packages reach their destinations without any issues.

  • Key FedEx Dates to Remember for Holiday Shipping Deadlines
    • For FedEx holiday shipping, it’s important to remember a few key dates for Christmas 2023.
      • The FedEx Sameday deadline falls on Friday, Dec. 22, while the FedEx Express Saver, 2Day, and 3Day deadlines are scheduled for the week before Christmas.
      • To avoid any last-minute panic, make sure to send FedEx Ground packages by Dec. 15, two weeks before Christmas.
    • Bear in mind that FedEx Freight will operate with modified operating hours on Dec. 23, and only pre-arranged pickup and delivery shipments will be made.
    • Also, USPS holiday observances may influence FedEx deliveries, including FedEx Ground Economy and FedEx Home Delivery. This increases the risk of package thieves preying on unattended parcels.
      • To minimize the chances of package theft, consider alternative delivery options or follow our tips in Section 2.
  • UPS Seasonal Shipping Guide for Holiday Shipping Deadlines
    • UPS is another popular choice for holiday shipping, and their guidelines for Christmas 2023 are equally important to note.
    • To guarantee delivery by Dec. 25, packages must be sent by Dec. 21.
      • Keep in mind that UPS 2nd Day Air packages tendered on Dec. 19 will have an additional day in transit, so plan accordingly.
    • During the holiday season, UPS offers various services, including Express Critical for urgent packages. However, pickup and delivery service will not be provided on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
    • Make sure to also consider any additional charges that UPS may apply, such as peak surcharges for oversized, unauthorized, or additional handling shipments from Oct. 1, 2023, through Jan. 13, 2024.
  • USPS Countdown to the Holidays and Shipping Dates
    • For those who prefer USPS, the shipping deadlines for Christmas 2023 are as follows:
  • USPS Ground Advantage – Dec. 16
  • First-Class Mail – Dec. 16
  • Priority Mail – Dec. 18
  • Priority Mail Express – Dec. 20
  • These deadlines ensure that your packages reach their destinations in time for the holidays, so keep them in mind when preparing to send packages.
  • USPS also offers special services for holiday shipping, such as First-Class Mail, Priority Mail, and Priority Mail Express Military Service.
  • These options cater to various needs and budgets, making USPS a flexible choice for your holiday delivery requirements.
  • Be sure to consult the USPS website for the most up-to-date information on shipping deadlines and guidelines.

Essential Tips to Prevent Package Theft This Holiday Season

A stack of boxes neatly arranged on a home's porch.

Package theft is an unfortunate occurrence during the holiday season, and with 36% of Americans having had a package stolen at least once, it’s imperative to adopt preventive measures to protect your deliveries.

The increase in porch pirate incidents during the 2020 pandemic highlights the importance of securing your packages and reducing the risk of theft.

In the subsequent sections, we’ll examine various strategies to protect your packages, covering topics such as:

  • Smart technology
  • Collaboration with your local post office
  • Optimizing delivery instructions
  • Making use of virtual mailbox services

By implementing these measures, you can ensure that your gifts and parcels arrive safely to their intended recipients.

Woman looking at security camera footage on her phone.
  • Secure Your Deliveries with Smart Technology
  • Nobody wants their package stolen. One effective way to deter and catch porch pirates is by employing smart technology, such as security cameras and motion detector lights.
    • Doorbell cameras enable you to view anyone approaching your doorway, providing high-definition images and two-way audio communication with visitors.
      • These cameras also feature night vision and built-in motion detection, enhancing the security of your deliveries.
    • Motion detector lights are also helpful to deter potential porch thieves by making them more visible and decreasing the likelihood of theft.
  • By investing in smart security solutions, you can safeguard your holiday deliveries and keep porch pirates at bay.
  • Partner With Your Local Post Office
    • Another practical approach to prevent package theft is collaborating with your local post office.
      • Requesting that USPS hold your package(s) at the local post office for safekeeping can be a simple yet effective solution.
      • Alternatively, you can install secure lockboxes approved by USPS, which provide a safe and convenient place for your packages to be delivered.
        • The United States Postal Service® does not sell or provide locked mailboxes, so you’ll have to seek an outside vendor.
        • If you’d like to obtain a locked mailbox for your residence, you may purchase one online from an approved manufacturer – paying special attention to the size necessary to accommodate your needs.
        • These lockboxes are installed at your location and are accessible to USPS carriers, who can deliver mail and packages directly into the lockbox.
        • A lockbox ensures the security and convenience of receiving mail and packages, even when you’re not available at the time of delivery.
  • Optimize Delivery Instructions
    • Providing clear delivery instructions to couriers can also help minimize the chances of package theft.
      • By specifying a preferred delivery location that’s hidden from plain view, such as behind a planter or under a porch chair, your package is less likely to be spotted and stolen by would-be thieves once it’s delivered.
      • When furnishing delivery instructions, it’s important to be clear and concise, including accurate address details, order information, and any additional elements as needed. By doing so, you can ensure that your package is delivered safely and securely to its intended destination.
A pair of hands handing over deliveries to a pair of waiting hands.
  • Get An Anytime Mailbox Virtual Mailbox
    • Another secure method of receiving packages during the holiday season is using Anytime Mailbox’s virtual mailbox service.
      • This service provides a permanent street address where you can receive and manage your postal mail remotely, without the need to physically visit the address.
      • Anytime Mailbox scans the front of every piece of mail you receive and sends it to you via their app, offering a secure and convenient way to manage your mail.
      • Anytime Mailbox can also receive parcels on your behalf. It’s super easy to arrange for package pickup and this method eliminates the opportunity for package theft while you’re away from home.
    • By using a virtual mailbox service such as Anytime Mailbox, you can ensure the safe arrival of your holiday deliveries while also benefiting from the convenience of remote mail management.

Last-Minute Shipping Solutions for Procrastinators

We’ve all experienced it – the holiday season arrives unexpectedly, and we’re left rushing to send out last-minute gifts and parcels. Thankfully, there are several last-minute shipping solutions available, including express services and Saturday shipping options. These options can help ensure that your packages arrive on time, even if you’ve left your holiday shipping to the last possible moment.

In the upcoming sections, we’ll cover the advantages of using express services for urgent shipments and the benefits of Saturday shipping for last-minute gift deliveries. By considering these options, you can save the day and ensure your loved ones receive their gifts in time for the holidays.

  • Utilizing Express Services for Urgent Shipments
    • For those in need of a quick shipping solution, express services offered by major carriers like FedEx, UPS, and USPS can be a lifesaver.
      • These services provide overnight delivery, same-day service in certain areas, and faster shipping times for an added cost.
      • While the expense may be higher than standard shipping, the peace of mind knowing your gifts will arrive in time for the holidays is priceless.
    • When selecting express services, it’s important to note the cutoff dates for each carrier to ensure timely delivery.
      • For example, USPS Priority Mail Express has a cutoff date of Dec. 21.
      • Always check with your chosen carrier for the most accurate and up-to-date information on express shipping deadlines.
  • Saturday Shipping: A Lifesaver for Last-Minute Gifts
    • Saturday shipping can be a significant advantage for those who need to send last-minute gifts, particularly when Christmas falls on a Monday.
    • This option ensures prompt delivery, allowing you to meet tight deadlines and guarantee that your packages reach their destinations in time for the holiday celebrations.
    • There may be additional charges for Saturday deliveries, depending on the shipping carrier.
      • For instance, FedEx typically charges about $17 per parcel, while UPS charges $4 per package for commercial deliveries. 
      • Despite the extra cost, Saturday shipping can be a valuable resource for those in need of a last-minute shipping solution.

Maximizing Convenience with Alternative Delivery Options

Beyond the major carriers and express shipping options, alternate delivery methods can provide added convenience and security during the holiday season. These options include “Ship to Store” services, workplace deliveries, and virtual mailbox services like Anytime Mailbox.

In the upcoming sections, we’ll detail each of these alternate delivery options, emphasizing their benefits and possible limitations. By considering these alternatives, you can find the most convenient and secure method for receiving your holiday deliveries.

  • The Benefits of “Ship to Store” Services
    • “Ship to Store” services allow customers to order online and pick up items in-store, avoiding the risk of package theft. Many retailers offer this convenient service, including:
      • Bloomingdale’s
      • Urban Outfitters
      • Costco
      • Nordstrom
      • Bergdorf Goodman
    • By directing your deliveries to a nearby store, you can eliminate the need to wait for a home delivery and reduce the chances of porch pirates pilfering your packages.
    • While “Ship to Store” services offer several advantages, there are some potential drawbacks. These include:
      • Not all retailers provide this service
      • It may not be suitable for all types of items
      • The need to visit the store to collect your package may not be ideal for those with a busy schedule.
  • Workplace Deliveries: A Practical Choice?
    • Receiving packages at your workplace can be a feasible option during the holiday season, leveraging the security and convenience of your office setting.
    • Employers can monitor deliveries through tracking IDs and implement workplace safety protocols to ensure the safe arrival of packages.
    • However, workplace deliveries may not be suitable for all types of packages, particularly large or awkwardly shaped items.
    • Also, some companies may have restrictions on personal packages being delivered at work.
    • It’s essential to consult your employer or refer to your company’s policy regarding workplace deliveries before choosing this option.
  • Deliveries to Your Virtual Address with Anytime Mailbox
    • A virtual address and mailbox service such as Anytime Mailbox provides a secure and convenient option for receiving holiday deliveries.
      • This service provides a permanent street address where you can receive and manage your postal mail remotely, without the need to physically visit the address.
      • Anytime Mailbox scans the front of every piece of mail you receive and sends it to you via their app, ensuring a safe and efficient mail management experience. 
    • In addition to the security benefits, a virtual mailbox offers the following advantages:
      • Access your mail from anywhere in the world.
      • Ideal for frequent travelers, digital nomads, students, or those with multiple residences.
      • Convenient remote mail management.
      • Ensures the safe arrival of holiday packages that you can arrange to pick up at your convenience.


  • In conclusion, mastering your holiday deliveries in 2023 involves a combination of planning, utilizing various shipping options, and employing preventive measures to protect your packages from theft.
  • By understanding the shipping deadlines for major carriers like FedEx, UPS, and USPS, as well as exploring alternative delivery options, you can ensure timely and secure delivery of your holiday gifts and parcels. Remember, the key to a stress-free holiday season is preparation and flexibility.
  • By staying informed and considering all available shipping options, you can make this holiday season a memorable and joyful experience for you and your loved ones.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the cut-off date for UPS Christmas delivery?

  • To ensure delivery before Christmas, packages must be sent no later than Dec. 21 using UPS 2nd Day Air and Dec. 22 for UPS Next Day Air.

Do packages ship on holidays?

  • UPS is closed on major holidays, but Express Critical® service is still available. 
  • Generally, USPS will be unavailable on selected holidays and may cause delays in mail delivery, although deliveries may still take place in areas with high volumes.

Who has the cheapest shipping for Christmas?

  • USPS offers the cheapest shipping rates for small Christmas parcels, making them the carrier of choice for most individuals and small businesses.
  • If you don’t qualify for FedEx or UPS bulk volume discounts, USPS is likely to be the least expensive option.

What are the key shipping deadlines for FedEx, UPS, and USPS in 2023?

How many packages are estimated to be stolen from home porches each year?

  • In recent years, some studies and reports suggest that millions of packages were stolen annually in the United States alone.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic did have an impact on package theft, and there were concerns that incidents could increase during this time.
  • A few factors may have contributed to this such as:
  • Increased Online Shopping: With lockdowns and restrictions in place, more people turned to online shopping, leading to a surge in package deliveries.
  • Financial Strain: Economic hardships during the pandemic may have led to an increase in theft-related crimes, including package theft.
  • High-Value Items: The increased purchase of high-value items (or hard to find items such as PPE) during the pandemic might have made stolen packages more lucrative for thieves.