What is the last day to ship before Christmas?


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

UPS

  • Normal pickup and delivery service — December 22
  • UPS 2nd Day Air — December 22
  • UPS Next Day Air — December 23

FedEx

  • FedEx Express Saver — December 20
  • FedEx 2Day and FedEx 2Day AM — December
  • FedEx Overnight, Priority Overnight, or First Overnight — December

Amazon.com

  • 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?

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Mrs. Frugalwoods
Mrs. Frugalwoods
5 years ago

Very interesting! I hadn’t heard of free shipping day before, but it sounds like a great idea. I buy everything online so this would be an ideal discount for me. Might be the only shopping-focused day I participate in all year!

Beth
Beth
5 years ago

I’m curious – is free shipping uncommon in the U.S.? It seems like most Canadian retailers have had really good sales in the past couple of weeks and free shipping on orders over a modest amount. (Like $25 for Amazon.) I don’t really see the advantage of Free Shipping Day if it were held here — except that it’s one more day with a fancy label designed to get people to spend.

Now, if I could ship my parcels for free through Canada Post or UPS, that would be a huge win.

Beth
Beth
5 years ago

“Free Spending Day beat Black Friday’s online spending two years in a row by over $250 million.” Free spending day? I’m hoping that’s a Freudian slip 🙂

Sorry, but this felt like an advertorial to me. At least be upfront with your readers about it or offer a balanced perspective. (What are the pitfalls? Could this make you spend more?)

Linda Vergon
Linda Vergon
5 years ago
Reply to  Beth

Oh, Beth, why so sensitive about “advertising” Free Shipping (spending) Day? (It was a Freudian, actually! Haha! I’ll change it when I get into the office.) But really, I literally learned about it in the elevator and decided to write about it pronto because Friday would be too late! If we were getting paid to “advertise” the event, it would be an advertorial. No, I wrote about it because I thought it would be a disservice not to inform people about a way to save on their shipping and possibly save on their purchases if they’re still making any. And… Read more »

Beth
Beth
5 years ago
Reply to  Linda Vergon

lol. Sorry. I know too much about content marketing 🙂 Glad I was wrong though.

Over lunch today people were talking about how they paid those premium shipping fees to get their stuff guaranteed before Christmas — even though they ordered well before the deadline. I had one of those “oh. now I get it” moments.

I could see Free Shipping Day taking off here if it meant the premium shipping services were free.

sarah
sarah
5 years ago
Reply to  Linda Vergon

It seems like an ad because it’s pushing something not really in line with what this site is normally about. Spending a bunch at the very last minute for gifts because of a gimmick? Doesn’t seem like a great personal finance strategy.

nicoleandmaggie
nicoleandmaggie
5 years ago
Reply to  sarah

Who knows what this site is really about– I mean, yesterday’s post was how to get your parents to give you money when you want to buy something you can’t actually afford.

Johanna
Johanna
5 years ago

Ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. “Free shipping” just means that the shipping cost is being rolled into something else. That doesn’t mean you can’t get good deals, just worth keeping in mind.

Why in the world does “savings” link to a page on savings accounts? Do the editors not realize that these are two different meanings of “savings,” or do they not care?

Beth
Beth
5 years ago
Reply to  Johanna

Just like “free” rewards points or cash back credit cards. All customers are assuming a portion of the cost.

Though sometimes discounts are loss leaders designed to get you to buy more, or a bid to get rid of inventory and generate cash flow.

Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom
Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom
5 years ago

I’ve done the majority of my Christmas shopping online this year. So much easier than dealing with the malls. I’m usually too cheap to pay for shipping though, so I think I’m too close to Christmas to get away with using the internet to get the rest of the stuff on my list. I’d definitely be interested in Free Shipping Day!

Cash In A Snap
Cash In A Snap
5 years ago

When it comes to Christmas and shipping gigs, November and December are important months and most companies inform you ahead of time the end date.

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