Don't pay more for holiday shipping than you did for the presents

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Picture this. It’s late December, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring…except you—frantically scanning the web in an attempt to find and ship those last few gifts you just didn't get around to earlier.

It's going to cost you.

Don’t be a Perpetual Present Procrastinator. Even if you ship just a bit earlier than Dec. 24, you can save some dough. Sure, you could use FedEx to send someone a DVD on December 23, but why pay more for the shipping that you did for the present?

Here’s a list of shipping dates for major services and tech sellers that should help you put a deadline on your shopping and shipping. And don’t forget: the earlier you ship, the better it is for your wallet.

Let’s start with the big guys and their last dates to ship at each level of service (note: the lower down you go on each bullet list, the more it will cost you):

Neither snow nor rain…

U.S. Postal Service

  • Standard postal service: December 14
  • First-class: December 20
  • Priority Mail: December 21
  • Priority Mail Express: December 23

(Note: If friends or family overseas with the military is involved, the dates are different--go to the bottom of the page to find out when you need to get that box moving.)

When it absolutely, positively has to be there...


  • FedEx SmartPost: December 12
  • FedEx Home Delivery: December 16
  • FedEx Ground: December 16
  • FedEx Express Saver: December 19
  • FedEx 2Day: December 21
  • FedEx Standard/Priority/First Overnight: December 23
  • FedEx SameDay: December 25

(Procrastinators: here is FedEx’s summation of the last days you can ship via its service and have it under a tree in time.)

The guys in brown


  • Normal pickup/delivery: December 20
  • UPS 2nd Day Air: December 21 (From site: Pickup service provided for regular Saturday pickup customers of air and international shipments only, or if prearranged by Friday, Dec. 20.)
  • UPS Next Day Air: December 23

Prime time

Amazon(Contiguous United States)

  • Free shipping (non-Prime): December 17
  • Standard Shipping: December 18
  • Two-Day Shipping: December 21
  • One-Day Shipping: December 23
  • Local Express Delivery: December 24

Amazon: (Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico)

  • Free shipping (non-Prime, Alaska and Hawaii only): December 13
  • Standard shipping: December 14
  • Two-day shipping: December 15
  • One-day shipping: December 16

Designed in California

Apple Store

Apple’s shipping dates are a bit of a mix, with different dates for each product. Here’s a selection of the most-anticipated devices and their standard shipping dates, but make sure to check Apple’s shipping page for a full list.

Select products also allow next-day shipping. Refer to Apple’s list for details.

  • MacBook Air: December 18 (Or December 16 for custom configurations)
  • MacBook Pro: December 18
  • iMac: December 18
  • iPad Air: December 9
  • iPhone 5s: December 12
  • iPhone 5c/4s: December 18

Android is involved

Google Play devices

  • Ground: December 16, Noon EST
  • Two day: December 18, Noon EST
  • Next day: December 20, Noon EST

Bulletin from Redmond

Microsoft Store

Microsoft uses UPS, so refer to the UPS section above. Orders must be placed by 1pm to ensure they’ll ship the same day. The company has not yet published any specific shipping information on its site.

E-reader ahoy

Barnes & Noble – Nook

  • Standard (Free) shipping: December 18
  • Express shipping: December 19 by 11 am
  • Expedited shipping: December 21 by 11 am

Buyer be early

Best Buy

(These are estimates, based on Best Buy’s published shipping schedule. Give yourself a few days extra, to be safe.)

  • Standard: December 15
  • Expedited: December 20
  • Express: December 21
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