All the Shopping Deadlines to Guarantee Delivery by Christmas (Plus, What to Buy!)

updated Dec 15, 2020
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Credit: Ruth Black/Stocksy

If you’re behind on holiday shopping, join the club. Every year, in spite of my best intentions, I end up last-minute gift shopping for at least one person on my list. And on Christmas Eve, I usually find myself wrapping my last few gifts and sticking them under the tree just in time. Getting gifts to loved ones by Christmas will be a little trickier this year because of shipping delays, which is why we’ve put together a guide so you know exactly how long you can put off shopping without paying exorbitant shipping fees or having to explain why presents will be arriving a week late.

Below, we’ve compiled important shipping deadlines for both FedEx and USPS, as well as cutoff dates for some of your favorite retailers. We even included some gift suggestions to save you even more time. Be sure to read the fine print on each retailer’s site to make sure you’re getting the latest shipping details. Now get shopping!

  • FedEx Home Delivery: Dec. 15
  • FedEx Ground: Dec. 15 
  • FedEx Express Saver: Dec. 21
  • FedEx 3Day Freight: Dec. 21
  • FedEx 2Day: Dec. 22
  • FedEx 2Day a.m.: Dec. 22
  • FedEx 2Day Freight: Dec. 22
  • FedEx 1Day Freight: Dec. 23
  • FedEx Extra Hours: Dec. 23
  • FedEx Standard Overnight: Dec. 23
  • FedEx Priority Overnight: Dec. 23
  • FedEx First Overnight: Dec. 23
  • FedEx SameDay: Dec. 25
  • FedEx SameDay City Priority: Dec. 25
  • FedEx SameDay City Direct: Dec. 25
  • UPS Ground: Dec. 15
  • UPS 3 Day Select: Dec. 21
  • UPS 2nd Day Air: Dec. 22
  • UPS Next Day Air: Dec. 23
  • UPS Express Critical: Dec. 25 
  • USPS Retail Ground Service: Dec. 15
  • First-Class Mail Service: Dec. 18 (Dec. 15 for Hawaii) 
  • Priority Mail Service: Dec. 19 (Dec. 15 for Hawaii) 
  • Priority Mail Express Service: Dec. 23 (Dec. 21 for Alaska and Hawaii) 

Retailer Deadlines

Anthropologie

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Anthropologie
$14.00

It's a safe bet that you'll find something giftable at Anthropologie, like the Tiled Margot Monogram Mug, which makes a great present for co-workers, friends, or even stocking stuffers for close family. You’ll get free shipping on orders over $50, but you'll have to purchase by Dec. 19 to guarantee Christmas Eve delivery with standard shipping. If you opt to pick up in store, you'll get an extra perk: a $10 credit toward orders of $100+ in January.

Nordstrom

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Nordstrom
$42.00

Nordstrom is offering both in-store and curbside pickup, and some items have a same-day turnaround. Enter your ZIP code when shopping within a category to see what’s available near you. You can also have items shipped to a nearby store by selecting “Ship to a Nordstrom Store” at checkout. Shipping to your home address is free, but is expected to take three to eight business days, making Dec. 17 your cutoff. (See Nordstrom's shipping chart for exact deadlines.) The retailer has a lot of great gift options under $50, and we say you can never go wrong with a candle. Diptyque's iconic Baies scent, which smells like a rose bouquet and blackcurrant leaves, is sure to comfort and delight.

West Elm

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West Elm
$85.00
was $100.00

West Elm's cutoff for holiday delivery is Dec. 19, and you can expect smaller items sent by standard shipping to arrive within 4 to 5 days of placing your order. Next-day shipping is available for a $26 fee within the continental U.S., and if placed before 6 p.m. PST on a weekday, will arrive the next day. Holiday delivery isn’t guaranteed for large items like furniture, so stick to smaller picks like this faux fur throw. Made from an acrylic-polyester mix, it has plenty of room to cuddle up in and, when not in use, can be draped across a chair or bed to add a touch of luxury to any space.

Urban Outfitters

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Urban Outfitters
$25.00

Orders placed now with standard shipping may not be delivered by Dec. 25, but express shipping orders placed before 1 p.m. EST on Dec. 19 will arrive just in time to slip under the tree. If you’re truly stumped about what to get your coworker, BFF, or partner, we found lots of great gifts under $25, including the HoMedics Bubble Bliss Deluxe Foot Spa. It keeps water warm and bubbly for the ultimate massage, and raised nodes along the bottom only add to the comfort. Ahhh!

Macy’s

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Macy's
$27.99
was $120.00

Macy's is offering several options to guarantee that gifts arrive on time. Same-day delivery is available for $5 in select areas if you order by 3 p.m. local time. Curbside and store pickup are also available. As for gift options, consider the Martha Stewart down-alternative comforter that made our best list. It’s lightweight enough for year-round use and comes in a range of colors and patterns so you can skip the duvet cover altogether.

Walmart

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Walmart
$79.00
was $99.00

Walmart launched their premium subscription service, Walmart+, earlier this year and members get free next-day and two-day delivery with no minimum spend required. It’s $98 annually to sign up, and you can start a 15-day free trial and use it to your advantage for last-minute holiday shopping. For all other orders, the deadline is Dec. 20, and certain home items qualify for two-day delivery. We're fans of the easy-to-use Keurig K-Classic Single Serve Coffee Maker, which offers three different cup sizes and an ample 48-oz. water reservoir that ensures a fresh jolt of coffee is just a button press away.

Parachute

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Parachute
$109.00

Parachute is offering free ground shipping within the U.S. for the holiday season—just make sure your order is in by Dec. 14. For expedited shipping, place your order no later than Dec. 19. One of Parachute's most popular gifts this season is the Cloud Cotton Robe, one of which sold every 60 seconds on Black Friday. Available in six colors and made from premium, long-staple Turkish cotton, the Cloud robe is soft, light, and absorbent, making it a cold-weather essential anyone would adore slipping into after a relaxing bath or shower.

Brooklinen

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Brooklinen
$56.25
was $75.00

Luxury bedding brand Brooklinen has tons of cozy gift options, which will arrive by Christmas day as long as you get your order in by Dec. 15. Designed specifically to bring spa-like luxury to your bathroom, their Super-Plush towels will make your giftee feel like they're swaddling themselves in a thick, fluffy blanket. Right now, Brooklinen is running a sitewide sale of 15 percent off, so you can get a set of two in a variety of neutral colors for less than $60. Check out more Brooklinen gift suggestions here.

Areaware

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Areaware
$32.00

Areaware admits they cannot guarantee holiday delivery for orders placed after Dec. 13, so they recommend selecting an expedited shipping method (FedEx Express Saver, FedEx 2 Day, or FedEx Overnight) to move things as swiftly as possible. While we love their popular collection of fun puzzles (which are currently 15 percent off), we also love the Chen Chen and Kai Williams Stacking Planter. Its circular design acts as both a planter and saucer, so your plants will always stay stylish and hydrated.