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Order by These Dates for Delivery by Christmas

Dec. 12, 2016
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Order By These Dates for Delivery By Christmas
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The pressure is mounting to have your holiday gifts in hand. Shopping online will let you avoid crowds at the mall — but you’ll have to allow valuable time for shipping.

Ninety-one percent of consumers are still shopping post-Black Friday, according to a 2016 survey by the National Retail Federation. If you’re among the many, stick to these shipping deadlines to ensure your gifts arrive by Christmas.


Amazon Prime members get free expedited shipping, but some options — including one-day delivery — are available only in select cities. Make sure your purchase qualifies before relying on same-day service.

  • Free shipping (non-Prime): Dec. 16.
  • Standard shipping: Dec. 19.
  • Two-day shipping: Dec. 22.
  • One-day shipping: Dec. 23.
  • Same-day delivery: Dec. 24, 9:30 a.m. local time.
  • Two-hour delivery via Prime Now:  Dec. 24, 9:45 p.m. local time.

Best Buy

If you make a purchase from the electronics retailer by 10:30 a.m. Central time on Dec. 21, you’ll have it by the end of the day on Dec. 23. And you’ll receive free shipping on most purchases through Dec. 24. Major appliances are excluded.


Standard delivery is free with all purchases, and expedited delivery is free for members of the Dell Advantage Rewards program this season. You must order some Dell items — including TVs 46 inches or larger and monitors 55 inches or larger — by Dec. 12 to get delivery by Christmas, but the guidelines for PCs that “ship same day” are:

  • Standard shipping: Dec. 16, 2 p.m. Central.
  • Expedited shipping: Dec. 21, 2 p.m. Central.
  • Express shipping: Dec. 22, 2 p.m. Central.

J.C. Penney

J.C. Penney shoppers score free standard shipping on orders of $49 or more and free store delivery on orders of $25 or more. Truck-delivered and manufacturer-delivered items are exceptions.

  • Ship to store: Dec. 16.
  • Standard shipping: Dec. 19.
  • Two-day shipping: Dec. 20, 12 a.m. Central.
  • One-day shipping: Dec. 22, 12 p.m. Central.


Macy’s carries a variety of products and has some of the latest shipping deadlines on this list, making it a solid resource for procrastinators. Furniture and other, often larger, items have different deadlines. Orders of $99 or more get free standard shipping.

  • Standard shipping: Dec. 21, 5 p.m. Eastern.
  • Premium shipping: Dec. 21, 5 p.m. Eastern.
  • Express shipping: Dec. 22, 12 p.m. Eastern.
  • In-store pickup: Dec. 24, 12 p.m. local time.
  • Same-day delivery: Dec. 24, 10 a.m. local time.


Sears provides free standard shipping on orders of $49 or more and free in-store pickup with no minimum purchase.

  • Free shipping: Dec. 19, 11:59 p.m. Central.
  • Standard shipping: Dec. 21, 4 p.m. Central.
  • Premium shipping: Dec. 22, 4 p.m. Central.
  • In-store pickup: Dec. 24.

Toys R Us

The toy store offers free in-store pickup year-round, but Dec. 19 is the last day to receive free shipping on purchases of $19 or more.

  • Standard shipping: Dec. 19, 11:59 p.m. Eastern.
  • Expedited shipping: Dec. 21, 3 p.m. Eastern.
  • Express shipping: Dec. 21, 11:59 p.m. Eastern.
  • In-store pickup: Dec. 24, 6 p.m. local time.

Victoria’s Secret

The lingerie seller’s minimum spending amount for free standard shipping changes, so check its website for current details.

  • Standard shipping: Dec. 15, 5 p.m. Eastern.
  • Third business day: Dec. 20, 5 p.m. Eastern.
  • Second business day: Dec. 21, 5 p.m. Eastern.
  • Next business day: Dec. 22, 5 p.m. Eastern.
  • Saturday delivery: Dec. 23, 5 p.m. Eastern.


The superstore chain is offering free two-day shipping on more than 1,500 toys from Dec. 14 to Dec. 21. The last day to pick up qualifying online purchases free in store is Christmas Eve.

  • Standard shipping: Dec. 20.
  • Rush delivery: Dec. 22, noon local time.
  • In-store pickup: Dec. 23, 6 p.m. local time.

Keep in mind

Some popular retailers, including Target, haven’t released their holiday deadlines yet. Check their websites for up-to-date information.

Free shipping day is Dec. 16. On that day, retailers including Target, Bloomingdale’s and Cabela’s will waive their minimum free shipping amounts and promise to deliver your order by Christmas Eve. If your favorite store is participating, consider taking advantage.

And despite what retailers suggest, the U.S. Postal Service recommends you stick to these dates to guarantee delivery by Christmas:

  • Ground service: Dec.15.
  • First-class mail: Dec. 20.
  • Priority mail: Dec. 21.
  • Priority mail express: Dec. 23.

If you live outside of the continental U.S., you’ll need to act earlier.

The sooner you order, the better. This creates a buffer against shipping delays, and it could save you money, because most expedited shipping methods cost extra.

More from NerdWallet

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Lauren Schwahn is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: [email protected]. Twitter: @lauren_schwahn.

This article was written by NerdWallet and was originally published by USA Today.