2020 holiday shipping deadlines are here

The deadlines to ship your packages and holiday cards are fast approaching. If you miss them, expect to pay a lot more to get them under the tree in time.

This week is expected to be the busiest week for shipping companies.

Some shippers not only have to deliver a record amount of online shopping orders this year, but two are also delivering the COVID-19 vaccines.

MORE: Some states receive COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

Get your packages ready.

The deadline to ship by ground is December 15.

Mail your holiday cards by December 18.

The cut off for three-day shipping by air is December 21, with Next Day Air due December 23.

RELATED: Monday marks Free Shipping Day for online holiday shoppers

FedEx and USPS offer same-day delivery on Christmas Day in some areas. But the longer you wait, the more expensive shipping will be.

"You want to be careful. You don't wait until the last minute. If you're sending a $5 sweater, you don't want to pay $60 to ship it. That's crazy," said Eric Dolan with PostNet in Tomball.

Industry experts say deliveries could be delayed as UPS and FedEx are also rushing the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to hospitals across the country.

"We're going to see some effects possible, possibly delays in shipment, because there's only so much space on a plane, space on a truck," said Dolan.

But you have other options, too.

Creditcards.com says American Express, Chase, and Mastercard offer a $79 annual ShopRunner membership that provides free two-day shipping.

Many retailers also offer same-day curbside pickup or have partnered with local delivery services.

"Look into your traditional food delivery services, places like Uber Eats and Postmates. They're teaming up with lots of retailers, including Sephora and even MAC cosmetics to deliver gifts to your door that same day," said shopping expert Sara Skirboll.


Or consider sending a gift that's delivered later on, such as a wine delivery service.

"The good thing about those delivery services is you don't have to have them delivered on the actual holiday, like Christmas for example. You can send them the gift card that says your item will be delivered in January," said Skirboll.

The good news is you may receive more holiday cards this year. Hallmark says people and businesses are sending more cards to make more personal connections during the holidays.

You can find more about holiday shipping deadlines here:
FedEx holiday shipping deadlines

UPS holiday shipping deadlines

USPS holiday shipping deadlines