Getting it there on time

With Thanksgiving now an almost distant memory, it's the time of year when people are scrambling to mail their letters and packages to friends and loved ones across the globe. Though the clock is ticking to beat the holiday rush, there's still time.

According to information provided by the United States Postal Service, postal customers have until Monday, Dec. 15, to ship packages standard parcel post in order to ensure delivery within the U.S. before Christmas. Those wishing for their letters and cards to reach their destination within the country have until Saturday, Dec. 20, via standard mail. Express Mail delivery, which guarantees next day service, is available up until the day before Christmas, though at a slightly higher cost.

In order for packages and cards to reach loved ones serving in the military overseas, postal customers have the option of sending items Priority Mail and First Class Mail until Thursday, Dec. 11. Express Mail delivery is still available until Thursday, Dec. 18.

In order to reach other destinations outside the U.S., postal customers have a few options with the U.S. Postal Service. The availability of First Class Mail International Priority Mail, Express Mail International and Global Express Guaranteed varies, depending on location.

Shipping with other parcel delivery services has a slightly different schedule. With UPS, in order to ensure delivery in-country by Christmas Eve, customers have until Friday, Dec. 19 to ship their packages via UPS 3-Day Select service. Customers also have the option of UPS 2nd Day Air and UPS Next Day Air if they get their packages to UPS by Monday, Dec. 22, and Tuesday, Dec. 23, respectively. UPS does not deliver on Christmas Day.

The last day to ship in-country via FedEx Ground and Home Delivery services - in order to be delivered by Christmas - is Dec. 17. Other options such as Fed Ex Express Saver parcels must be sent by Dec. 19, and FedEx 2Day and 2Day with Saturday delivery services have a Dec. 20 deadline. FedEx Overnight with Saturday delivery items must be sent by Dec. 21, while FedEx Standard Overnight, Priority Overnight and First Overnight items have until Dec. 22. Delivery service is available on Christmas Day with FedEx SameDay service.

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