Here’s how late you can send your holiday gifts and still hope they arrive in time.
While the holidays can be joyful, we regret to inform you that Christmas and Kwanzaa are almost here, and Hanukkah just started. Sorry, we’re not trying to be rude, and you’re right, December does seem to go by faster with each passing year.
Don’t feel bad if you are behind on all of your gift giving this year, as we’re all increasingly busy people with a lot of distractions to deal with.
On the off chance that you might not have sent your loved one a present just yet, take heart, as you still have time to show someone you care in the form of material goods, and to pay extra for expedited shipping so they get it before the holidays end.
To help you make sense of your options, here’s the cut-off deadlines, meaning the last possible moment you can ship something and hope it arrives in time, for some of the most popular package delivery services.
The majority of package delivery services are closed on Christmas Day, so the latest you can expect them is Christmas Eve. (Or after the holidays, if you just can’t get it together.)
But while FedEx and UPS might be a friend to the procrastinator, Santa isn’t going to loan them his sled, so get a move on before your presents arrive late and everyone starts calling you the Grinch.
(Note: these dates are the suggested cut-offs for shipping your package so it arrives before the end of the holiday season. Your personal experience with your local UPS branch may differ from the brand’s national recommendations.)
If you want FedEx’s Express Saver or FedEx three-day freight services, the deadline for Christmas Day delivery is/was December 20. There’s other options available, but the longer you wait, the more the price will go up.
For two-day delivery, Two-Day A.M. or Two-Day Freight, you have until Wednesday, December 21.For FedEx 1Day Freight or FedEx Extra Hours, you have until Thursday, December 22. The freight option is recommended if your shipment is over 150 pounds.And finally, for FedEx Same Day Delivery, you have until Friday, December 23 to make that happen, but it’s only available in select areas and cities, and usually the delivery will only happen if it’s within the same city.
You’ve (for the most part) already missed the window for the budget-friendly, ground delivery service for UPS.
But you still have a few options, and each one is more expensive, so the longer you wait, you more you pay. Like most shippers, UPS will not deliver on Christmas Day.
Also keep in mind that every UPS location keeps different hours, and some close at 5pm sharp.
For 3-Day select, you have/had until Tuesday, December 20.For 2-Day select, the last day you can ship a package is Wednesday, December 21. For Next Day Air, you cut-off is Thursday, Dec. 22.
United States Postal Service
At this point you only have two options. You can opt for ground service and hope for the best.
Or, you shell out for Priority Mail Express, which ends on Friday, December 23rd and starts at $27.25.
Target has an Arrive Before Christmas label for purchases made online, starting on December 16th through December 23rd, but only up until December 20.
After that, you can opt for two-day shipping for any item you order online by December 21st, as long as the total order is more than $35.
You also might have the option of same-day delivery available, but slots will be limited on December 24, and are not available in all locations. If you are willing to deliver your gift in person but want to shop online, in-store and curbside pickup are available for orders placed by 6 p.m. on December 24.
You can get free two-day shipping from Walmart’s online platform, if you can complete you order by December 21st. But you have to be a member of the Walmart+ program, but it’s also free for non-members on orders $35 and over.
Beyond two-day shipping, the last date you can order a gift that is guaranteed to arrive for Christmas is December 22.
Also, some items in some locations will be available for same day delivery with a 6pm cut-off, with very limited options for Christmas Eve.
Amazon has not released an official holiday schedule. But we can use last year’s schedule as a rough guide. This is still a guess, though, so err on the early side with this one, as the free standard window of three to five days ended on December 18.
December 23 is your last day to take advantage of One Day Delivery, which is free for Prime members and extra for everyone else.December 24 is the last day to order Same-Day Delivery, which is only available in some areas. In those areas, it’s free for Prime members on orders over $35 and $2.99 for orders below $35.
If your work schedule is just too much this week, or you otherwise have a lot on your plate, your break-glass-in-case of emergency move is that Barnes and Noble, Apple, many of the above mentioned online retail giants and even some local businesses will let you instantly e-mail a gift certificate for any amount.
It’s not the most personal gift, but it’s a key clutch move for a reason, as it gets the job done.