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Shipaggedon! Record number of online shoppers expected to cause delays.

For on-time delivery, start shopping now.

CLEVELAND — Getting your Christmas gifts to their destination on time has always been a game of beat the clock. But with COVID forcing so much shopping online it’s going to be harder than ever to ensure on-time delivery.

And if you haven't mailed out your gifts yet, keep your fingers crossed.

Shopping expert Carey Rielly says, "Don't be a last-minute shopper this year. Forget it. Just get it ordered now and shipped asap.”

RELATED: Is shopping in stores safe during the pandemic?

With this year’s Black Friday the second-largest day for online spending in U.S. history behind last year’s Cyber Monday…a pattern that's expected to continue because of COVID fears, shippers are doing all they can to avoid delays.

Captain Houston Mills, Airline Director of Safety for United Postal Service points out, "People want things faster, sooner and more reliable. And we want to really be able to meet that demand that our customers are having for this holiday season.”

UPS is buying nearly fifty new planes to meet demands

Federal Express is hiring seventy thousand seasonal workers.

And the post office has made it possible to handle all your shipping online.

Rod Spurgeon, Communications Specialist at The United States Postal Service explains "So you pay for and print the postage. Get all the boxes shipped to your house for free and then we'll go ahead and pick that up for you for free as well.”

Now to the important delivery deadlines.

If you're sending packages by ground, get ‘em out by December 15th for the USPS, UPS, and Federal Express.  

December 21st is the deadline for 3-day shipping with UPS and FedEx.

And the last day for one day delivery with the post office, UPS or FedEx is December 23rd.

Although they all warn there are no guarantees your packages will be on time.

Curbside pickup is the only way for that.

Also, the later you wait to ship, the more it will cost you. For example, FedEx does same-day Christmas delivery...for an additional seventy-five dollars.

But, no matter when you mail your gifts, be prepared for higher costs. FedEx, UPS, and the USPS all announced holiday surcharges.

"It's something that the industry hasn't seen before, numbers like this. And so, that's why we’re encouraging everyone, if you're shopping, take advantage of the sales that are going on now and get those packages in the network as soon as possible," says Jenny Robertson, with Federal Express Marketing and Communications.

Two other things to keep in mind: If you're going through the USPS, get one of their flat rate boxes. Depending on how heavy your items are, using your own box could cost a lot more.

And to save time, stay away from the post office at lunchtime and between five and six when people are out of work.

RELATED: Laura DeMarco's local holiday shopping guide: support small businesses while giving the gifts that people love

RELATED: 5 ways to stay safe while shopping online this holiday season

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