When to Mail Your Gifts and Cards So They Arrive Before Christmas

Kirstin Fawcett
iStock / iStock

When playing Santa for a long-distance loved one, the only thing more important than selecting the perfect gift is ensuring it arrives on time for Christmas Day festivities. Remember these US Postal Service shipping deadlines to guarantee a timely delivery:

If you finished your shopping nice and early, you can ship your presents with USPS Retail Ground Service (formerly Standard Post) by December 15 and have them arrive before the 25th. Rates start at $6.75, and your parcel should arrive in two to eight business days. (This is a good option for larger packages, as you’re permitted to send shipments up to 70 pounds and 130 inches in combined length and girth.)

Sending small gifts (weighing up to 13 ounces) or Christmas cards? Opt for First-Class Mail, and ship them out by December 20. They should arrive in one to three business days. Rates start at 47 cents (for a First-Class Mail Forever Stamp).

For last-minute gifts, use Priority Mail (deadline: December 21) or Priority Mail Express (December 23). Priority Mail delivers your gift in one to three days, based on where your package starts and where it’s going. Rates start at $6.45. Choose Priority Mail Express and your package should arrive overnight. Rates start at $22.95.