What is the last day to ship before Christmas? Well, that depends, actually. Traditionally — that is, say, prior to 2008 — the last day to ship was around the second week of December. These days, it really depends on how much you are willing to spend. FedEx offers same-day shipping on Christmas Day. Yes, the FedEx SameDay department is open seven days a week, 365 days of the year. And they deliver “door to door within hours, depending on availability” according to their website. Think something in the neighborhood of $48/pound for the SameDay City service plus any surcharges. Wow.
But seriously, what this means is that, if you have been super busy at work or you're just a full-on procrastinator, you still have (expensive) options. Check their websites for all the particulars, but here's how they actually lay out from now until Christmas for the major shippers and retailers:
United States Postal Service
- First class mail — December 20
- Priority mail — December 20
- Priority Mail Express — December 23
- Normal pickup and delivery service — December 22
- UPS 2nd Day Air — December 22
- UPS Next Day Air — December 23
- FedEx Express Saver — December 20
- FedEx 2Day and FedEx 2Day AM — December
- FedEx Overnight, Priority Overnight, or First Overnight — December
- Free Shipping/Standard Shipping — Place your order by December 19
- Two-Day Shipping — December 22 (This is free with Amazon Prime.)
- One-Day Shipping — December 23
- Local Express Delivery — December 24
Holiday shipping can be quite the budget-buster. One of my friends is ultra-organized and ships her homemade cookies to friends and relatives via standard post, making sure to meet the deadline every year to keep the cost down. This year, she says she spent $150. It's a special treat, and we love her for it!
A new trend in holiday shipping
But I mentioned 2008 above for a reason. You see, today is Free Shipping Day. It's sort of a quirky way to procrastinate, save a little money, and still come out smelling like a rose on Christmas Day. One can hope.
How does it work? If you haven't finished your Christmas shopping yet, you can pay a visit to www.freeshippingday.com anytime after 12:00 a.m. EST today (December 18, 2014) to see all the retailers and what their shipping offers entail. Scroll down the home page to find the store you want to shop at, make note of any promotion codes or restrictions, click “Visit Site” and proceed to shop as you normally would online. With 1,178 merchants participating in the event this year, you're bound to find something that fits the bill (pun intended). A lot of the retailers offer free shipping with no minimum purchase — but some make the deal even sweeter. I saw a lot of steep discounts on the site — 10, 20, 30, 40 and even one at 59 percent that caught my eye.
Free Shipping Day is the brainchild of serial entrepreneur Luke Knowles — who seems quite comfortable operating under incredibly tight deadlines. As the story goes, Luke organized the first Free Shipping Day “just two weeks before the event.” Since 2008, the one-day event has grown tremendously — largely because it's a win-win for a lot of people. Retailers like it because it extends the holiday shopping season. Shoppers like it because the savings could be meaningful.
As you might expect, none of these shipping methods is foolproof. The weather made completing deliveries on time very difficult for shippers last year. This year the volume of cards, letters, and packages delivered by the post office was reported to be more than 640 million pieces on December 15th alone. While this new trend has some great benefits, its adoption also stresses shipping capacity every year.
Move over, Black Friday. Step aside, Cyber Monday. Free Shipping Day is gaining ground, and it's going to give you a run for your money. The website boasts that, despite its short history, “Free Shipping Day beat Black Friday's online spending two years in a row by over $250 million.” I had never heard of this event before, but I'm curious to try it.
What do you think? How much do you spend on holiday shipping? Are discounts of up to 59 percent enough to make you change your holiday shopping habits?