Santa can't offer online tracking on his gift deliveries.

Thankfully, a few of his big helpers – FedEx, the U.S. Postal Service and UPS – do, along with overnight delivery and other assurances for your holiday gifts.

But they also have earlier delivery schedules than those based at the North Pole, and these packages also won't be coming through the chimney.

To help them make sure your gifts get to their final destination on time – and save a little money – there a few key shipping deadlines to pay attention to.

These are the three major carriers' recommended send-by dates for expected delivery by Dec. 25:

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U.S. Postal Service

Dec. 14: USPS Retail Ground shipments

Dec. 18: APO/FPO/DPO (except ZIP Code 093) through Priority Mail Express

Dec. 20: First Class

Dec. 20: Priority Mail

Dec. 22: Priority Mail Express


Find rates and transit times at

Dec. 17: Ground and home delivery

Dec. 19: Express Saver

Dec. 20: Two-day options

Dec. 21: Overnight options

Dec. 25: FedEx SameDay, FedEx SameDay City Direct and City Priority

United Parcel Service

Calculate time and cost at

Dec. 18: UPS 3 Day Select

Dec. 20: 2nd Day Air

Dec. 21: Next Day Air

Kelly Tyko is a consumer columnist and retail reporter for Treasure Coast Newspapers and, part of the USA TODAY NETWORK. Read her Bargainista tips at, follow her on Twitter @KellyTyko and email her at