RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The holidays are getting closer every day, and you may have already started — or finished — checking off your shopping list. But when should you put everything in the mail for it to reach your loved ones by Christmas Day?
If you’re sending your packages and cards through the United State Postal Service (USPS), there are specific days you’ll want to remember if you want everything to arrive by Dec. 25.
According to USPS’s guide to holiday shipping, if you’re mailing cards or packages by first class mail, ship them by Dec. 17. For priority mail deliveries, have those items to the post office by Dec. 19.
If you’re running late on your shopping, you can use priority mail express until Dec. 22 to make sure everything is mailed on time. But after that, Santa — otherwise known as your neighborhood post office workers — likely won’t be able to deliver your presents by Christmas Day.
Deadlines to ship things to Hawaii and Alaska are a bit earlier. For a Dec. 25 delivery, both first class and priority mail need to be at the post office by Dec. 17, while priority mail express needs to get in by Dec. 21.
The USPS also has a complete guide for when to mail your gifts that have international destinations. While international deliveries have early deadlines, you can still mail most packages between Dec. 20 and Dec. 22 with Global Express Guaranteed Service for a Christmas Day delivery. Just be aware this option can cost a pretty penny.
While these deadlines can help you figure out if a gift will reach its destinations by Dec. 25, be aware that this year, the last day of Hannukah and the first day of Kwanzaa are both on Dec. 26. That means if you’re sending gifts for either of those holidays, they will likely still arrive in time if you follow the days in this guide.