Holiday Planning Tip: Shipping and Photo Printing Deadlines

"Christmas Mail." ca. 1910-1915. Bain News Service, publisher. From the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

While I would like (and plan to) finish up our emergency food supply planning by the end of this month, holiday duties are taking priority at the moment. Today’s post suggests some holiday items to prioritize in the next week or so.

For those celebrating, Happy Hannukah! There have been a number of wonderful blog posts lately about Hannukah.

“Hannukah is by far my favorite Jewish holiday because it is all fun without the formalities. There are no five course meals to prepare, telephones calls wishing third cousins on the husband’s side happy holidays, no extensive present buying or crazy month long cleaning sessions. This is a time for casual friend and family gatherings for tasty treats and candle lighting.”

–Sarah Melamed, “Happy Deep Fried Hannukah,”  Food Bridge blog, November 28, 2010.

For those still on the countdown to Christmas, a few ideas about managing your time in the next few weeks–learned the hard way over the past several years.

For the next week or so, it is a good idea to be focused on your shopping (if you are giving presents this year), particularly any gift-buying online that requires shipping. If you wait too long, you are going to miss free and discounted shipping and will end up paying a small fortune in shipping charges.

Key Christmas Shipping Deadlines

December 3 – deadline for U.S. Postal Service first class mail delivery to some international addresses (December 10 for the majority of international destinations)

December 10 – last day for U.S. Postal Service first class mail shipment to most overseas military bases (some military deadlines are even earlier and have already passed)

December 11 – last day to drop off packages for UPS guaranteed delivery by Christmas (you can still drop your packages off after this but UPS will make no guarantee they will arrive by Christmas)

December 15 – last day for U.S. Postal Service parcel post delivery

December 16 – – free super-saver shipping ends

December 17 (approx.) – last day to drop off packages for FedEx money-back guaranteed delivery by Christmas

December 20 – last day for U.S. Postal Service first class mail delivery (Christmas cards, etc.)

"Photographer Herbert French photographing children posed at E.T. Meredith, Jr. party" ca. 1920. From the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

The other deadlines to be keeping in mind are anything related to photo printing. Many people are giving family photos as gifts or want to print special calendars, memory books and customized photo Christmas cards. It may be hard to find an exact deadline on most photo printing sites but trust me on this one….the closer it gets to Christmas (even a week before) you will not get your prints for weeks (without spending a small fortune in rush fees) and definitely not in time for Christmas. This weekend is a good one to focus on taking any photos you need and/or sending them to print.

December 2 (today) – deadline for “slow” delivery. December 9 for standard delivery. is offering 50% off holiday cards.

December is encouraging you to order by December 5 by offering 25-35% off.

Are there any priority tasks I am missing? How are your holiday shopping errands and/or celebrations coming along? Please share in the comments.