Your holiday shipping deadlines and what you can and can’t carry through TSA

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Don't panic, you still have some time to get your presents delivered before Christmas next week.

Don’t panic, you still have some time to get your presents delivered before Christmas next week.

But don’t dilly-dally — this week is the busiest of the holiday mailing and shipping season in the United States, with the US Postal Service expecting to process and deliver nearly 3 billion pieces of mail, the USPS said in a news release.

The USPS says in the period from December 10 to December 23, it expects it will have delivered nearly 200 million packages.

From Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, the postal service predicts it will make a total of nearly 16 billion mail and package deliveries. The agency has expanded its Sunday operations to help with the surge in holiday deliveries.

The numbers are scary, considering these are the statistics from one single mailing agency, but you still have a chance to have your package delivered before Christmas.

Today is the deadline for UPS’s most affordable delivery option, the UPS 3 Day Select, as well as the deadline for free shipping on Amazon orders. Tomorrow, December 19, is the deadline for FedEx’s “Express Saver,” and December 20 is the deadline for USPS’ first-class and priority mail.

To make sure your present arrives on time, these major US carriers suggest you ship your package on or before the following dates:

USPS deadlines

December 18: Last day to ship APO/FPO/DPO (except ZIP Code 093) through USPS Priority Mail Express

December 20: Last day to ship First-Class and Priority mail (including greeting cards) and First-class packages (up to 15.99 ounces)

December 22: Last day to ship Priority Mail Express

UPS deadlines

December 18: Last day to ship UPS 3 Day Select

December 20: Last day to ship UPS 2nd Day Air

December 21: Last day to ship UPS Next Day Air

December 22: Last day to ship UPS On-Call Pickup for UPS Next Day Air

FedEx deadlines

December 19: Last day to ship FedEx Express Saver

December 20: Last day to ship FedEx 2 Day A.M. and FedEx 2 Day

December 21: Last day to ship FedEx First Class, Priority and Standard Overnight

December 25: Last day to ship FedEx SameDay, SameDay City Direct and City Priority

Amazon deadlines

December 19: Last day for free and standard shipping

December 22: Last day for two-day shipping

December 23: Last day for one-day shipping (in select areas)

December 24: Last day for same-day deliveries (in select areas)

Traveling with presents

If you’re traveling by plane for the holidays, here are some tips from the Transportation Security Administration to keep in mind:

  • If you’re bringing gifts with you, do not wrap them. The TSA suggests to bring your presents unwrapped, in a bag, or in an easy-to-get-to box, in case officers need to open them for a safety check.
  • The TSA wants you to know that if you spent all night baking those Christmas cookies, it’s perfectly ok to pack them in your carry on, but if it’s eggnog or any other liquid, it must be 3.4 ounces or less.
  • If you’re not sure if your present is safe enough to carry through the checkpoint, the TSA suggests you visit its “What can I bring?” section on its web page.
  • Remember, many people travel for the holidays, which is why the TSA suggests getting to the airport earlier than usual, and “use your time at the checkpoint wisely.”
  • Finally, if you think you left something behind at the checkpoint, don’t panic — the TSA has a lost and found program that will help you find your missing items.
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