Holiday Shipping Deadlines for 2017
Make sure your gifts arrive on time, don't be a procrastinator like me! These dates & tips are sure to help keep you on track for this holiday season.
By Paul M. Eng with Mary Beth Quirk Last updated: November 23, 2017
If want all of your holiday gifts to arrive on time this year, you'd better finish your gift shopping soon.
Hanukkah starts on Tuesday Dec. 12, which means your gifts should probably be at the U.S. Post Office at least the week prior if you want guaranteed delivery by First Class mail service.
And for Christmas gift-givers, don't be fooled into thinking that Dec. 25 means you have a cushion of 12 more days. Most major retailers— and package shippers—anticipate online shopping will be off the charts this year and place a tremendous strain on package delivery systems this holiday season.
To ensure your holiday gifts arrive on time, check out the year-end gift-shipping deadline information below for FedEx, UPS, and the U.S. Postal Service.
• Check out these tips for shopping (and shipping) procrastinators.
• Don't forget about Free Shipping Day. More than 600 online merchants will participate on Dec. 15, offering hundreds of items that will arrive by Christmas Eve.
For shipping within the U.S.:
Dec. 11: Last day to ship via FedEx SmartPost
Dec. 15: Last day to ship via FedEx Ground
Dec. 18: Last day to ship via FedEx Home Delivery
Dec. 19: Last day to ship via FedEx Express Saver
Dec. 20: Last day to ship via FedEx 2Day and FedEx 2Day A.M. Dec. 21: Last day to ship via FedEx Standard Overnight, FedEx Priority Overnight, and FedEx First Overnight
Dec. 25: Last day to ship via FedEx SameDay City
(Priority), FedEx SameDay City (standard), and FedEx SameDay
Shipping deadlines for packages headed to Puerto Rico and Canada, Mexico, and other international destinations vary. See the Last Days to Ship section of FedEx's 2017 Holiday Shipping Help page for more information.
Visit Consumer Reports' 2017 Holiday Gift Guide for updates on deals, expert product reviews, insider tips on shopping, and much more. And be sure to check our Daily Gift Guide.
For shipping within the U.S.:
Dec. 18: Last day to ship UPS 3 Day Select for delivery on Friday, Dec. 22
Dec. 20: Last day to ship via UPS 2nd Day Air for delivery on Friday, Dec. 22
Dec. 21: Last day to ship via UPS Next Day Air for delivery by Friday, Dec. 22. Also the last day to ship via UPS 2nd Day Air with Saturday Delivery option. Note: Saturday Delivery is not available to all ZIP codes.
Dec. 22: Last day to ship via UPS Next Day Air with Saturday Delivery option. Note: Saturday Delivery is not available to all ZIP codes.
In addition to the Saturday Delivery restrictions as noted previously, UPS also warns that some packages and services may require an additional day of transit time. For a more complete assesment of how long it will take for your gift to arrive, check UPS' online shipping time and cost calculator.
For international shipping deadlines and other holiday-related
information, such as pick-up and delivery schedules, see the Holiday Shipping with UPS website.
U.S. Postal Service
For mail and package shipping within the continental U.S.:
Dec. 14: Last day to send packages via Retail Ground
Dec. 19: Last day to send packages via First Class Mail
Dec. 20: Last day to send packages via Priority Mail
Dec. 22: Last day to send packages via Priority Mail Express
For mail and package shipping to Alaska:
Dec. 20: Last day to send packages via First Class Mail and Priority Mail services
Dec. 21: Last day to send packages via Priority Mail Express
For mail and package shipping to Hawaii:
Dec. 15: Last day to send packages via First Class Mail and Priority Mail services
Dec. 20: Last day to send packages via Priority Mail Express
The deadline for shipping packages internationally, including to overseas military bases, varies based on the destination and type of delivery service.
For more information, visit the Holiday Shipping Deadlines section of U.S. Postal Service website.
Online retailers and shopping websites are experiencing record volumes this holiday season, so it's important to check their specific
ordering deadlines if you wish for your gifts to arrive by Christmas day—a Monday this year.
The cut-off date for ordering items on Amazon.com with free shipping within the contiguous 48 states of the U.S. hasn't been established by the large online retailer yet. As soon as it does, we'll post the information here.
However, keep in mind that many items are eligible for free two-day shipping if you have an Amazon Prime membership.
For packages headed outside of the U.S. and other information, see Amazon's help and support site. Pay close attention to these particular pages:
Holiday Ordering Deadlines for International Destinations Holiday Ordering and Return Deadlines for the U.S. Shipping Rates & Times
Other Retailers' Deadlines
You'll find similar ordering and holiday gift-shipping deadline information for most major retailers online. Some examples:
Online ordering deadline to ship in time for Hanukkah (Dec. 12):
Dec. 4: Last day for free standard shipping for music and movie products (must order by 10:30 a.m. CST) and for large home delivery items.
Dec. 5: Last day for free standard shipping for most items (must order by 10:30 a.m. CST)
Check the Holiday Order Deadlines page on BestBuy.com for up-to- date-information.
JC Penney hasn't yet determined its online shopping deadlines for holiday shipping. But based on its general Shipping
Information page online, it seems these are the dates you need to keep in mind for Christmas shipping:
Dec. 18: Last day for standard shipping
Dec. 20: Last day for express shipping (must order by 12:00 p.m. noon CST)
Dec. 21: Last Day for next-day air shipping (must order $49 minimum by 12:00 p.m. noon CST)
Online ordering deadline to ship in time for Christmas:
Dec. 15: Last day for free standard shipping (must order $25 minimum by 4:00 p.m. CST)
Dec. 19: Last day for standard shipping (must order by 4:00 p.m. CST)
Dec. 21: Last day for premium shipping (must order by 4 p.m. CST)
For more information, including shipping exclusions, see the holiday shipping pages at Kmart.com and Sears.com.
The toy retailer, which filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September, has set these shopping deadlines for guaranteed Christmas delivery within the contiguous 48 states:
Dec. 18: Last day for free economy shipping
Dec. 20: Last day for expedited shipping (Orders must be placed by 3:00 p.m.)
Dec. 20: Last day for express shipping (Orders must be placed by 11:59 p.m.)
For information about package deliveries to Alaska, Hawaii and international destinations (including U.S. military bases), see Toys R Us' shipping and handling page.
Shopping Tips for Procrastinators
If you're the kind of holiday shopper who scrambles to buy all of your gifts just days before the holidays, your biggest concern is likely to be how to get your purchases delivered on time—without busting your budget.
A survey of holiday shopping preferences by the National Retail Federation reports that free shipping is the single biggest factor that will nudge an online shopper to make a purchase. The good news is that free delivery is widely available, but you'll need to meet shipping deadlines to qualify.
And this year's calendar could add a wrinkle to your holiday shipping plans, because Christmas falls on Monday. Though the U.S. Postal Service does plan to deliver on Sunday, Dec. 24, United Parcel Service doesn't plan to make noncritical deliveries that day. FedEx says it will provide very limited service. Here are some tips to help holiday-shopping procrastinators.
Choose retailers that offer year-round free shipping, including Blue Nile, L.L.Bean, and Nordstrom. Check their websites for holiday shipping deadlines. Last year, L.L.Bean required orders to be placed by Dec. 21 and Nordstrom's deadline was noon Eastern time on Dec. 23 to ensure free delivery in time for the holidays.
Hit the two-day free delivery window. Up until the end of the day on Dec. 21, you can get free two-day shipping at some major retailers for packages going to addresses in the U.S. Walmart offers free two-day shipping year-round on orders over $35. Amazon Prime members are also eligible for free two-day shipping for Prime-eligible products. You can also get a free 30-day trial to ShopRunner (regular annual fee: $79 or $8.95 a month), a service that provides free two-day delivery (and returns) from more than 100 retailers, including Bergdorf Goodman, eBags, and Kay Jewelers. If you have an American Express or MasterCard credit card, you may be eligible for a free ShopRunner membership.
Try to get one-day or same day delivery. If you leave your shopping until after Dec. 21, Amazon Prime members who place an order of at least $35 may be eligible for free one-day or same-day delivery if their purchase is headed to one or more than 5,000 cities or towns. (Enter "Amazon Prime free one-day shipping" into your web browser to search for eligible ZIP codes.)
Order online and pick up at the store. A number of retailers, including Apple, Best Buy, and Walmart, have provided this service in the past. Last year, orders placed by 6 p.m. local time on Dec. 23 at Walmart. com could be picked up through closing time on Dec. 24 at thousands of its stores.
Give an e-gift card. While downing some eggnog on Christmas Eve, you still have time to send an e-gift card that includes an email to the recipient alerting her to your gift. If a general e-gift card is too impersonal, consider giving a card that is more tailored to your recipient's interest, such as a Blue Apron gift card for time- stressed cooks, a Home Depot or Bed Bath & Beyond gift card for the millennial in your life who just moved out, or a gift certificate to Jackson & Perkins for those with green thumbs.—Carla Fried
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your recipient's interest, such as a Blue Apron gift card for time- stressed cooks, a Home Depot or Bed Bath & Beyond gift card for the millennial in your life who just moved out, or a gift certificate to Jackson & Perkins for those with green thumbs. —Carla Fried