2016 Shipping Deadlines to Guarantee a Christmas Delivery

Christmas delivery

Without flying reindeer and a sleigh, you’re at the mercy of retailers and major shipping services if you want your items to arrive in time for a magical Christmas.

To ensure your gifts get there by the 25th, get them in the mail soon. Below, find out the shipping deadlines for a Christmas delivery at major retailers and shipping services like FedEx, UPS, and the U.S. Postal Service.

Major retailer holiday shipping deadlines

If you plan on ordering from retailers online and shipping the packages directly to the recipients’ homes, your deadline for a Christmas delivery is quickly approaching. Here are the shipping deadlines for some of the biggest and most popular stores.

Amazon

If you’re ordering from Amazon and are not using Prime, follow these guidelines:

  • Dec. 16: Last day to ship via free shipping
  • Dec. 19: Last day via standard shipping
  • Dec. 22: Last day to ship using two-day shipping
  • Dec. 23: Last day to ship using one-day shipping
  • Dec. 24: Last day to ship using same-day delivery (only in select cities)

Best Buy

Best Buy’s shipping deadlines can be challenging, as their standard shipping ranges from three to seven business days. To be safe, use the following guidelines when shipping:

  • Dec. 14: Last day to ship using standard shipping
  • Dec. 21: Last day to ship using two-day shipping
  • Dec. 22: Last day to ship using one-day shipping
  • Dec. 24: Last day to order and pickup in store (only in select cities)

Nordstrom

Nordstrom is well-known for free standard shipping, and that applies to the holidays, too. But if you’re placing orders, there are some shipping cutoffs you should know:

  • Dec. 15: Last day for free standard shipping to PO Boxes
  • Dec. 21: Last day for two-day business shipping on gift cards and merchandise
  • Dec. 22: Last day for free standard shipping on gift cards and qualifying merchandise
  • Dec. 23: Last day for $10 rush shipping on qualifying merchandise

Toys ‘R’ Us

Toys ‘R’ Us has some of the most generous shipping policies around. If you’re planning to ship gifts directly from them, be aware of the following deadlines:

  • Dec. 19: Last day to get free shipping with delivery by Christmas (with $19 order)
  • Dec. 21: Last day to order using expedited shipping by 3:00pm ET, or using Express Shipping by 11:59pm ET
  • Dec. 24: Last day to place order and pick up in store

Shipping service deadlines for Christmas delivery

If you did your shopping in-person and now need to ship the gifts to loved ones in other parts of the country, pay attention to carriers’ shipping services and timelines.

As it gets closer to the holiday, it may make sense to pay more for expedited shipping, even though it’s much more expensive. Normal delivery schedules may cause your packages to arrive after Christmas.

FedEx holiday shipping deadlines

If you’re willing to pay a premium, you can get your packages underneath the Christmas tree even if you wait until December 23. Here is the complete breakdown of deadlines for all of FedEx’s services if you’re shipping within the United States:

  • Dec. 12: Last day to ship via FedEx SmartPost
  • Dec. 16: Last day to ship via FedEx Home Delivery and FedEx Ground
  • Dec. 20: Last day to ship via FedEx Express Saver
  • Dec. 21: Last day to ship via FedEx 2Day and FedEx 2Day A.M.
  • Dec. 22: Last day to ship via FedEx Standard Overnight, FedEx Priority Overnight, and FedEx First Overnight
  • Dec. 23: Last day to ship via FedEx SameDay City
  • Dec. 25: Last day to ship via FedEx SameDay City and FedEx SameDay

UPS holiday shipping deadlines

Regular ground shipping is likely to be too late for the holiday, so opt for an accelerated plan. If you choose Next Day Air service, you can ship your packages out as late as December 23.

  • Dec. 19: Last day to ship UPS 3 Day Select
  • Dec. 21: Last day to ship via UPS 2nd Day Air
  • Dec. 22: Last day to ship via UPS 2nd Day Air and UPS Next Day Air
  • Dec. 23: Last day to ship via UPS Next Day Air

USPS holiday delivery deadlines

If you rely on the U.S. Postal Service, know that you should use priority or first-class mail over parcel post to ensure your gifts get there on time.

Below are the USPS holiday shipping deadlines:

  • Dec. 15: Last day to ship via USPS Retail Ground
  • Dec. 20: Last day to send packages via First-Class Mail
  • Dec. 21: Last day to send packages via Priority Mail
  • Dec. 23: Last day to send packages via Priority Express Mail

Get ready for the holidays

The holidays are quickly approaching, so get your packages in the mail as soon as possible to avoid paying expedited fees or risking any delays.

If you’re running out of time or are on a strict budget, find out how you can save money by buying discounted gift cards and giving them as presents.

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