July 21, 2024

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Holiday shipping deadlines: how to get your gifts on time

Holiday shipping deadlines: how to get your gifts on time

The same thing happens year after year. Things get busy with work, school, and life in general until you’re suddenly up against the clock as you race your gifts to your local post office, FedEx store, or UPS location. We’ve all been there — in fact, I somehow find myself in this predicament every year — but we’d like to be of some help as you plan out your next move and begin sending out your holiday packages.

If you plan on sending your gifts via traditional mail, what follows are the upcoming domestic shipping deadlines for various retailers and shipment carriers, so you can ensure that your packages arrive before Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, or whatever holiday it is you celebrate this time of year. Hopefully, it’ll help you to avoid some holiday stress, if at all possible.

With UPS, you have until Thursday, December 22nd, to ship via Next Day Air and have your package arrive on Christmas Eve, December 24th. Wednesday, December 21st, is the last day to ship via 2nd Day Air if you want your package to arrive on Christmas Eve. You can opt for UPS’ 3 Day Select option until Tuesday, December 20th, to have it arrive on the 23rd. Before then, you can select the normal pickup and delivery service to get your packages where they need to be on time. See more details regarding UPS shipping deadlines here.

FedEx’s Same Day shipping can get your package where it needs to on Friday, December 23rd. That’s the last day that FedEx can guarantee that your package will arrive by Christmas. If you ship it by Wednesday, December 21st, you can opt for the 2 Day shipping method. If you manage to get it to FedEx on Tuesday, December 20th, you can go the Express Saver route and (hopefully) pay a reasonable fee for shipping. See more details regarding Fedex shipping deadlines here.

Friday, December 23rd, is the final day to send packages (and have them arrive by Christmas Eve) through USPS via its Priority Mail Express service. The deadline for Priority Mail shipments is Monday, December 19th, to arrive by Christmas Eve. First-Class Mail packages and those you intend to send via Retail Ground, meanwhile, must be sent by Saturday, December 17th. See more details regarding USPS shipping deadlines here.

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Amazon 2022 deadlines

  • If you subscribe to Amazon Prime and live in an eligible ZIP code in the US, you can get Same-Day Delivery on certain items through December 24th. You’ll need to meet the “minimum threshold” of eligible items in your cart. As for what that means, this helpful post breaks it down as “over $25 in certain cities” or with a “$2.99 fee per order.”
  • Prime members can get One-Day Delivery for eligible products through December 23rd with no minimum purchase amount or Two-Day Delivery through December 22nd.
  • If you’re a Prime member in select US cities, you can take advantage of two-hour grocery delivery through December 24th.

Shipping times and prices may vary depending on the product type, size, and whether it’s shipping directly from Amazon or a third-party seller. So, make sure to check the expected arrival date at the checkout, then choose accordingly.

Best Buy logo laid over white and yellow tags.

Illustration by Kristen Radtke

Best Buy 2022 deadlines

  • If you’re a subscriber to Best Buy’s Totaltech program, you can get free same-day or next-day shipping (depending on your ZIP code), and there’s no order minimum.
  • Customers who don’t subscribe to Totaltech need to clear the $35 order threshold (before taxes but after coupons), and certain items are available for next-day and standard shipping.
  • December 21st is the cutoff date in most areas for home delivery of large items, but there are exceptions. The earliest delivery date available will be shown when you check out.
  • Free next-day delivery is available on select items through December 23rd.
  • In select areas, December 24th is the cutoff for same-day delivery. If you place your order by 2PM local time, you should receive it by 9PM local time the same day.
  • Lastly, since Best Buy stores are closed on Christmas Day, and December 24th is the cutoff date for in-store pickup. If you place an order by 5PM local time on December 24th, it should be ready for in-store pickup by 7PM local time the same day.

Best Buy’s shipment arrival dates may vary depending on the kind of item that you’re getting. Major appliances also may take longer to be delivered at this point.

A stock photo of the Walmart logo

Illustration by Kristen Radtke

Walmart 2022 deadlines

Walmart hasn’t provided specific dates for its 2022 holiday plans. The Verge has reached out to Walmart for up-to-date info, and we’ll update this post once we receive it.

In the past, however, the retailer has offered in-store pickup through December 24th, pending availability, so long as you place your order by December 23rd. The retailer also offers free next-day and two-day shipping to Walmart Plus subscribers with no order minimum, though, the arrival date of your package may vary depending on whether Walmart is shipping your item or a third-party seller is.

The Target logo over a repeating pink and white bullseye illustration

Illustration by Kristen Radtke

Target 2022 deadlines

Similar to Walmart, Target hasn’t shared its 2022 holiday shipping info. What’s below is accurate in terms of shipping policies, though we’ll update this post if Target provides updated info.

  • Target RedCard credit card holders benefit from free two-day shipping on many items from the big red retailer’s site. Eligible orders should be placed by December 21st.
  • Many, but not all, orders over $35 are eligible for free two-day shipping, even without a RedCard. It’s determined by the item’s location and your ZIP code.
  • Target also offers same-day shipments from its retail stores with a service called Shipt. A subscription to Shipt includes unlimited deliveries on orders above $35 for $99 per year. Alternatively, you can pay for same-day shipping with Shipt on a per-order basis through Target’s site. Shipping fees may vary depending on your location and the contents of the order. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions that might help you.
  • In-stock items at your local Target can be ordered for pickup and ready in two hours. It helps to choose your desired location as “My store” in the upper-left corner of Target’s page, so each product listing automatically indicates if the item can be ready for pickup there.
  • Target stores will be open on Christmas Eve, though it’s best to get pickup orders and same-day shipping orders in by December 23rd to be on the safe side.

Similar to Walmart and Amazon, be aware if an item at Target is shipped or sold by a third party, which can result in longer lead times. Product listings usually spell out your options for pickup, same-day delivery, and standard shipping — complete with estimated availability times — before you add them to your cart.

Update 4:50PM ET, December 9th, 2022: Added accurate shipping dates and related info to this post for the 2022 holiday season.