Shipping Companies Announce Crucial Holiday Shipping Deadlines:

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As the countdown to Christmas narrows to just 10 days, the United States Postal Service is issuing a final call to holiday gift senders. The USPS First Class Mail deadline is set for Saturday, marking a crucial deadline to ensure gifts arrive in time for the festive season.

This December is especially busy for shipping companies. About 82 million packages are expected to be shipped each day during this peak season.

In Nashville, boxes are piling up at a facility called UPS Worldport, a key hub in the holiday shopping process where millions of packages will pass through during the holiday season. The 5.4 million square foot facility can sort about 416,000 packages per hour. The scene in the facilities reflects the Christmas hustle and bustle.

Customer Melinda Wayland said she was relieved to have her packages delivered.

“I feel better about it. At least I sent them now,” he said.

Leslie Phelts, a first-line supervisor at the Nashville facility, said she feels part of Santa's team.

“We're like Santa's helpers,” Phelts said. “…we feel like we played a big part of the holiday season,” Phelts said.

Here's how the process works in Nashville: Packages arrive by truck and plane and travel 155 miles of conveyor belt, are sorted by zip code, and then loaded into giant shipping containers. All of this happens in less than four hours, something that happens on about 300 daily flights as a team of meteorologists helps plot a course based on any winter weather.

Bill Moore, president of UPS Airlines, said they begin preparing for next year the day after Christmas. He advises people to send their gifts early and not wait until the last minute.

“Time is running out, so we tell people don't wait. Don't procrastinate. Ship early and ship often,” Moore said.

For e-tailers like Omaha Steaks, the holiday rush is a make-or-break period. The company sells a box of filet mignon every 2.4 seconds and about 80,000 boxes are expected to be shipped daily.

“Being on time is critical to the customer experience, and that's why UPS is able to do it at the highest level,” said Nate Rempe, President and CEO of Omaha Steaks.

When are the shipping deadlines this year?

Holiday shippers using USPS First Class Mail must send packages by Saturday. For those opting for UPS Ground, the deadline is Monday. For three-day shipping, gifts must be shipped by December 19. And for last-minute shippers, overnight shipping is available through December 21.

As Christmas falls on a Monday this year, deliveries on Sundays will be limited, making it even more important to meet deadlines.



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