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Last-minute shoppers, be warned. The 2021 holiday shopping season is going to be met with possible toy and tech shortages, as well as shipping delays. Not only will delivery drivers have to balance a huge uptick in online orders and strains on the global supply chain due to the pandemic, but they will also be at the mercy of Mother Nature and her unpredictable winter storms. Of course, this is really only bad news if you don’t plan ahead and order your holiday gifts at the right time.
To help you out, we’ve gathered the latest 2021 USPS shipping deadlines, as well as those for other shipping outfits and a number of stores. While many retailers have not yet released their recommended holiday shipping deadlines, we’ve estimated the dates by combining last year’s cut-off dates with the news of the extra time needed this season.
Below are the deadlines to place online orders at popular stores and sites if you want to really make sure your purchases will arrive by Christmas Eve on Friday, December 24th, 2021.
2021 Holiday Shipping Deadlines for USPS, UPS and FedEx
The US Postal Service recently released their recommended holiday shipping deadlines, noting that the earlier you ship, the better. In addition, both UPS and FedEx have also announced shipping deadlines to keep in mind if you want to ensure your packages arrive on time. It’s important to remember that these dates represent current recommendations. Unexpected weather events and other delays could always impact service, so if you’re able to ship your gifts and holiday cards before these days, that’s probably for the best.
U.S. Postal Service Christmas Shipping Deadlines (Confirmed for 2021)
- Dec. 15 – USPS Retail Ground
- Dec. 17 – First-Class Mail Service (including holiday greeting cards)
- Dec. 18 – Priority Mail
- Dec. 23 – Priority Mail Express Service
*If you are shipping to Alaska or Hawaii, plan to get your packages out by December 18th and 17th respectively for First-Class Mail Service.
UPS Christmas Shipping Deadlines (For delivery on Dec. 24) (Confirmed for 2021)
- Dec. 16 – UPS Ground
Calculate estimated UPS ground shipping arrival dates using this UPS link
(typical Ground delivery takes between one and five business days in the U.S.)
- Dec. 21 – UPS 3 Day Select
- Dec. 22 – UPS 2nd Day Air
- Dec. 23 – UPS Next Day Air
FedEx Christmas Shipping Deadlines (Confirmed for 2021)
- Dec. 9 – FedEx Ground Economy
- Dec. 15 – FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery
- Dec. 21 – FedEx Express Saver
- Dec. 22 – FedEx 2Day AM and FedEx 2Day
- Dec. 23 – FedEx First Overnight, FedEx Priority Overnight and FedEx Standard Overnight
- Dec. 24 – FedEx SameDay City (Standard), FedEx SameDay and FedEx SameDay City (Priority)
2021 Holiday Ordering Deadlines for Top Popular Online Retailers
With so many amazing holiday deals happening daily, we strongly suggest you shop now and finish your holiday shopping early this year. Your wallet and stress levels will thank you.
Slick Tip: Don’t waste valuable money on costly expedited shipping if you missed the cut-off date. Instead, look for stores that offer free in-store or curbside pick-up.
Amazon.com Ordering Cutoff Dates (Confirmed for 2021)
When you are cutting it to the last wire, Amazon is your best choice, especially if you have Prime. ‘Tis the season to try a free Prime trial if you haven’t tasted the joy of free one- and two-day shipping.
However, err on the safe side and don’t save your holiday shopping until the 23rd.
Look at the estimated order dates for each item you plan to purchase. You can find them on the right side of the screen. Amazon is upfront in saying if an item will or will not be delivered by Christmas. Avoid shopping third-party sellers also, since they don’t offer Prime shipping times.
- Dec. 17 – Standard Shipping
- Dec. 22 – Two-Day Shipping (Free with Prime)
- Dec. 23 – One-Day Shipping (In select cities. Free with Prime)
- Dec. 24 – Same-Day Delivery – 5 p.m. local time – (In select cities. Free with Prime)
- Dec. 24 – Two-Hour Delivery – cutoff times vary depending on availability – (In select cities. Free and exclusive for Prime Members via Prime Now)
adidas (Confirmed for 2021)
Along with U.S. shipping delays, adidas has a processing time of three to five business days before items are shipped.
- Dec. 15 – Standard Shipping (12 p.m. PST time cutoff) – free shipping for Creators Club membership
Apple (Confirmed for 2021)
In most metro areas, get in-stock items by 2-hour delivery for $9 as late as December 24. Shipping cutoff dates vary by product, but many are available within two days:
- Dec. 15 – iPhone 11, Apple TV 4K
- Dec 21 – Mailed Apple gift cards
- Dec. 22 – Select iPhone models, Airpods, Apple Watches, iPad Pro 12.9-inch, Homepod mini, iMac 27-in and Mac mini
Best Buy (Confirmed for 2021)
When shopping Best Buy, all items say when they ship by or when they will arrive. You can also opt for in-store or curbside pick up for select items if you wait until the last minute.
- Dec. 16 – Standard Shipping (3-5 business days) – free on orders $35+
- Dec. 21 – Express Shipping
- Dec. 23 – Next Day Shipping on qualifying products
- Dec. 24 – Same Day Delivery on qualifying products (orders before 3 p.m.), or pick up in stores.
Columbia Sportswear (Confirmed for 2021)
- Dec. 12 – Standard Shipping – free shipping for Greater Rewards members
- Dec. 19 – Expedited Shipping
- Dec. 20 – Rush Shipping
Costco (Confirmed for 2021)
Shipping cutoffs vary by products and stores, and Costco does not make any shipping guarantees. Costco said to expect delays on small parcel deliveries but that large items such as grills or furniture should not be impacted. Be sure to shop at least a week before Christmas or shop the 2-Day Delivery selections.
Dell (Confirmed for 2021)
- Dec. 15 – Free standard shipping (3 p.m. ET cutoff)
- Dec. 18 – Expedited Delivery on select items (3 p.m. ET cutoff) – Additional $15 charge
- Dec. 22 – Express Delivery on select items (3 p.m. ET cutoff) – Additional $25 charge
Dick’s Sporting Goods (Confirmed for 2021)
- Dec. 17 – Standard Shipping – free shipping on orders $65+
- Dec. 22 – Expedited shipping (2 p.m. ET cutoff)
- Dec. 23 – Express shipping (2 p.m. ET cutoff)
Disney Store (Confirmed for 2021)
- Dec. 17– Standard Shipping – free shipping on orders $75+ with code: SHIPMAGIC
- Dec. 21– 2-Day Express
- Dec. 22 – Next-Day Express
HP (Confirmed for 2021)
Look for items that say, “Ships on: 12/16/2021” or earlier to ensure you receive your package before Dec. 24th.
JCPenney (Confirmed for 2021)
- Dec. 15 – Last day for free ship to store on order $25+
- Dec. 15 – Standard Shipping – free shipping on orders $75+
- Dec. 21- 3-Day Expedited Shipping
- Dec. 22- 2-Day Expedited Shipping
- Dec. 23- 1-Day Expedited Shipping
Kohl’s (Confirmed for 2021)
If you want to avoid Kohl’s extra shipping fees, shop for items that are in-stock at your local store and you should be able to pick up your order the same day.
- No Longer Guaranteed – Standard Shipping
- Dec. 19 – 2-Day Shipping (1 p.m. CST cutoff)
- Dec. 20 – 1-Day Shipping (1 p.m. CST cutoff)
Macy’s (Confirmed for 2021)
- Dec. 22– Standard Shipping + Premium Shipping (5 p.m. EST cutoff)
- Dec. 23– Express Shipping (12 p.m. EST cutoff)
- Dec. 24 – Same-Day Shipping only in select areas (10 a.m. local time cutoff) – $15 fee for orders $25+
Newegg (Confirmed for 2021)
Note that some Newegg orders require extra processing. Look for shipping speed noted on your desired items before purchasing, and shop early just to be safe.
- Dec. 21 – Newegg 3 Day
- Dec. 22 – Newegg 2 Day
- Dec. 23 – Newegg Next Day
Nike (Confirmed for 2021)
Note that expedited and express shipping options are not available for every order.
- Dec. 13 – No-Rush Shipping (10 a.m. PST cutoff)
- Dec. 15 – Standard Shipping – free shipping for Nike members or on orders $150+ (8:30 a.m. PST cutoff)
- Dec. 21 – Expedited Shipping – $5 for Nike members and $15 for all other orders (8 a.m. PST cutoff)
- Dec 22 – Express Shipping (8 a.m. PST cutoff)
REI (Confirmed for 2021)
- Dec. 17 – Standard Shipping – free shipping on orders $50+ (9 a.m. PST cutoff)
Sam’s Club (Estimated for 2021)
- Dec. 17 – Standard shipping (12 p.m. local time cutoff)
- Dec. 21 – Express shipping (12 p.m. local time cutoff)
Target (Confirmed for 2021)
For 2021, Target’s app and drive-up pick-up have made shopping speedier. If you don’t want to pay for shipping on orders under $35 or you need your gift quickly, try Target’s free drive-up pickup. Additionally, RedCard holders can get free two-day shipping on many items.
- Dec. 17 – Standard 3-5 business day shipping. Free shipping on orders $35+
- Dec. 22 – Two-Day Shipping – Free on select items with Target RedCard
Walmart and Walmart+ (Estimated for 2021)
Orders over $35 ship free on Walmart.com – no membership required. But you can also sign up for a 15-day free Walmart+ free trial and have unlimited items from your local Walmart delivered to your door the same day (often in few hours) for free to save you on Christmas Eve. To start your trial, confirm your address to find out which Walmart+ benefits are available at stores around you. Note that Walmart stores are closed on Christmas Day but reopen on December 26th.
Slick tip: Before you head to your local Walmart to shop and pick up last-minute necessities and gifts, search for items online first and check off the “Free pickup today” box on the left side filters to see only same-day eligible gifts.
- Dec. 17 – Standard 3-5 Day Shipping
- Dec. 22 – Two-Day Delivery (2 p.m. local time cutoff)
- Dec. 21 – Next-Day Delivery (cutoff times vary) – select items
- Dec. 23 – Pickup Same Day (4 p.m. local time cutoff) – select items
- Dec. 24 – Pickup Same Day (4 p.m. local time cutoff) – select items
How to Save No Matter Where You Shop
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