On October 14, 2021, U.S. Representative Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, posted a message on Twitter falsely claiming that Christmas presents never arrived late during the administration of former President Donald Trump.
It’s wrong. Christmas presents arrived late during Trump’s presidency.
Late Christmas gifts were not unique to the Trump presidency. There are frequent shipping delays during the holiday season as letter carriers face an influx of purchases, as well as harsh winter conditions. In December 2020, the last Christmas with Trump as president, the COVID-19 pandemic further complicated shipping efforts and caused massive delays.
Days before Christmas, Fox News reported that millions of packages are unlikely to reach their destination on time:
Americans hoping their packages arrive in time for a Christmas Day celebration could experience a rude awakening this year. Just days before the holidays, public and private shippers are experiencing significant delays, in large part due to the coronavirus pandemic. Increased demand during the holiday rush amid an unprecedented economic crisis as the government entrusts companies with deliveries of vital vaccines has led to a maelstrom of errors.
About a month later, CNN reported that some people were still waiting for their 2020 Christmas packages:
It’s almost February, and vacation packages and cards are still hitting people’s doors. The reason for all these delays? Like many at the moment, the pandemic is partly to blame.
Americans shopped online for the holidays in record numbers, flooding the system with what the USPS says is “historic volume” of mail and packages. As a result, parcels, cards and other mail sometimes take more than a month to reach their destination. The USPS has so far delivered more than 1.1 billion parcels mailed during the holiday season, a record number, he told CNN.
Of course, 2020 wasn’t the first time Christmas packages were delayed. We found reports from 2019, 2018 and 2017 that noted minor delays in Christmas deliveries, although those delays were much less than in 2020. According to Bloomberg, UPS had an on-time delivery rate of 99 , 1% during the Christmas season in 2017.
Trump was also not the first president to see deliveries delayed during the Christmas holidays. In 2013, when Barack Obama was president, UPS and FedEx both apologized after some customers woke up on Christmas morning without their vacation packages.
Jordan’s tweet was one of many messages in recent weeks that hyperbolically claimed that President Biden and Dr.Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, were indeed canceling Christmas. The official House Republicans Twitter account, for example, posted the next post on Twitter:
Biden isn’t trying to steal Christmas.
The claim that Biden is “canceling” or “stealing” Christmas is part of an ongoing (and largely imagined) “war on Christmas” (see our previous “War on Christmas” coverage).
The most recent “battle” of this “war” stems from a comment Fauci made in an interview with “Face the Nation” that it was “too early to tell” if any restrictions travel plans would be put in place for Christmas due to the covid19 pandemic. This led to a wave of hyperbolic claims that Fauci had canceled Christmas. (It should be noted that the CDC under Trump in 2020 has really warned against travel during the holiday season in 2020 due to the pandemic.)
It’s also worth noting that as of this writing in October 2021, no Christmas presents have arrived late this season. While there have been fears of shipping delays due to supply chain issues, it’s too early to tell if Christmas presents will actually be delayed this year.
If you are concerned about delays this holiday season, you should check the holiday shipping deadline calendars published by FedEx and USPS. Both organizations say packages will arrive in time for Christmas if you ship your gifts by December 15 for ground delivery in the United States.
“8% of vacation packages were delayed, but communication eases the pain.” Retail TouchPoints, December 31, 2018, https://retailtouchpoints.com/topics/digital-commerce/8-of-holiday-packages-were-delayed-but-communication-mitigates-the-pain.
“A story of the ‘war on Christmas’. Snopes.Com, https://www.snopes.com/news/2017/11/29/the-war-on-christmas/. Accessed October 14, 2021.
Bloomberg. “UPS and FedEx are handling record wave of vacations with minimal delays. Handling and Logistics, December 29, 2017, https://www.mhlnews.com/transportation-distribution/article/22054771/ups-fedex-handle-record-holiday-surge-with-minimal-delays.
“The CDC says Americans should avoid travel during the winter holiday season, take COVID-19 tests if they do.” USA TODAY, https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/airline-news/2020/12/02/holiday-travel-cdc-says-dont-travel-christmas-new-years-hanukkah/3792632001 /. Accessed October 14, 2021.
CNN, Léa Asmelash. “A month after the holidays, some people still receive Christmas packages in the mail. CNN, https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/28/us/usps-shipping-delays-trnd/index.html. Accessed October 14, 2021.
“FedEx FedEx: Customers Complain About Delayed Packages. WWLP, December 27, 2019, https://www.wwlp.com/news/local-news/hampden-county/fed-up-with-fedex-customers-complain-of-delayed-packages/.
Levs, Josh. ” Here again ? UPS, FedEx Moving late Christmas packages. CNN, December 26, 2013, https://www.cnn.com/2013/12/26/us/christmas-shipping-delays/index.html.
Musto, Julia. “Why will millions of Christmas packages be late this year?” Fox News, December 22, 2020, https://www.foxnews.com/us/why-millions-of-christmas-packages-will-be-late-this-year.
US supply chain too harassed for Biden Christmas Fix, experts say. Reuters, October 14, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-supply-chain-too-snarled-biden-christmas-fix-experts-say-2021-10-14/.
Wade, Peter and Peter Wade. “Fauci didn’t cancel Christmas. The Conservatives are still crazy. Rolling Stone, October 4, 2021, https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/fauci-fox-war-on-christmas-1236363/.