With the holiday shipping delays this season, waiting to order last-minute gifts online may have more serious consequences than in previous years.
But it’s nothing to be ashamed of — we’ve all been there. In fact, I find myself scrambling for last-minute gifts almost every year (no matter how early I start shopping).
To help you plan, we’ve gathered holiday shipping deadlines and cutoff times for packages to arrive by Christmas.
As retailers and shipping carriers update their deadlines or announce further delays, these holiday shipping deadlines for FedEx, USPS, UPS, and specific stores are subject to change.
Should I expect holiday shipping delays?
YES. Holiday shipping delays are very real this year, especially with the surge in online shopping caused by the pandemic. So plan ahead and shop accordingly!
Even the most reliable shipping methods (like Amazon Prime’s Two-Day Delivery) aren’t a guarantee right now.
The holiday shipping deadlines below are good guides for when to shop, but nothing is set in stone with the delays this season. So shop as early as possible to avoid gifts arriving late or after Christmas Day!
USPS holiday shipping deadlines
According to USPS, these are the holiday shipping deadlines (recommended “send by” dates) for expected delivery before December 25th. These deadlines pertain to the Contiguous U.S only:
USPS Retail Ground Service: Dec. 15
First-Class Mail Service: Dec. 17
Priority Mail Service: Dec. 18
Priority Mail Express Service: Dec. 23
See holiday shipping deadlines for Alaska, Hawaii, and international territories on USPS.com.
UPS holiday shipping deadlines
According to UPS, these are the holiday shipping deadlines (recommended “send by” dates) to have your gifts arrive by Christmas:
UPS 3-Day Select Service: Dec. 21
UPS 2nd-Day Air Service: Dec. 22
UPS Next-Day Air Service: Dec. 23
UPS also has an online calculator to estimate when your package will arrive (and how much it will cost to ship) based on your location.
FedEx holiday shipping deadlines
FedEx announced 2021 holiday shipping deadlines for each of their many delivery methods. If you’re shipping with FedEx, these are the recommended “send by” dates for gifts to arrive before Dec. 25.
- FedEx First Overnight: Dec. 23
- FedEx Priority Overnight: Dec. 23
- FedEx Standard Overnight: Dec. 23
- FedEx 2-Day AM: Dec. 22
- FedEx 2-Day: Dec. 22
- FedEx Express Saver: Dec. 21
- FedEx Ground: Dec. 15
- FedEx Ground Economy: Dec. 9
For Alaska, Hawaii, and International territories, see 2021 FedEx Shipping deadlines for holiday packages on FedEx.com.
Your last day to shop at Kohl’s is Dec. 19 for delivery by Christmas.
Kohl’s no longer guarantees delivery by Christmas with Standard Shipping. However, if your items are eligible for Two-Day Shipping, place your order by 1 PM CST on Dec. 19.
If your items are eligible for One-Day Shipping, place your order by 1 PM CT on Dec. 20.
Kohl’s also offers Free Store Pickup. You can usually pick up in-stock items in two hours or less, but availability may be limited on Dec. 24.
Kohl’s E-Gift Cards are instantly delivered to your email address. Order by 10 PM CT on Dec. 25 for your gift to arrive on Christmas Day!
See all last-minute Kohl’s Deals.
Your last day to shop on Amazon is Dec. 23 for gifts before Christmas.
While Amazon Prime members can technically shop on Dec. 24 with Same-Day Delivery, availability isn’t guaranteed (and it’s not worth the risk of gifts arriving after Christmas).
Your best bet for last-minute gifts is to order by Dec. 23 with Prime One-Day Delivery, or Dec. 22 with Prime Two-Day Delivery.
If you’re not an Amazon Prime member, you’ll get Free Standard Shipping on orders $25 or more. Order by Dec. 17 for standard delivery by Christmas.
Amazon eGift cards or Amazon Prime Memberships can be ordered on Dec. 25 for immediate arrival on Christmas day.
See all last-minute Amazon deals.
Your last day to shop at Best Buy is Dec. 20 for gifts before Christmas.
If your order is eligible for Next-Day Delivery, order by 8 PM local time on Dec. 23.
If your order is eligible for Same-Day Delivery, order by noon local time on Dec. 24.
Best Buy also offers free store pickup. You can shop online as late as 5 PM on Christmas Eve to have gifts under the tree that night.
- Dec. 13-23: Order on BestBuy.com and select “Fast Store Pickup” for your order to be ready within the hour.
- Dec. 24: Order on BestBuy.com by 5 PM local time and select “Fast Store Pickup” for your order to be ready by 6 PM.
See all last-minute Best Buy deals.
Your last day to shop at Macy’s is Dec. 22 for delivery before Christmas.
Macy’s holiday shipping deadline is Dec. 22 for free standard shipping on orders 35+. Order by 5 PM ET to get your gifts in time for Christmas.
If your order qualifies for Express Shipping, order by noon ET on Dec. 23.
If your order qualifies for Same-Day Delivery (select areas only), order by 10 AM local time on Dec. 24.
Macy’s also offers in-store and contact-free curbside pickup. Order by 3 PM local time on Dec. 24 (for items already in stock at your store).
Macy’s E-Gift Cards are sent to you by email. You can order e-gift cards by 1 PM on Dec. 24 for super-fast delivery.
See all last-minute Macy’s deals.
Shop at Target on or before Dec. 22 for gifts before Christmas.
Target’s holiday shipping deadline is Dec. 22 for hundreds of thousands of items eligible for Free Two-Day Shipping. Order cutoff times vary by zip code, so double-check your delivery estimate on Target.com.
If you’re a Target RedCard member, you get Free Two-Day Shipping with no purchase minimum. If you don’t have a RedCard, you’ll get Free Two-Day Shipping on orders of $35 or more.
Target uses multiple shipping carriers (including FedEx and UPS) to deliver packages. Most packages arrive in one or two days.
See all last-minute Target deals.
Walmart+ members should order by Dec. 22 (regular shoppers by Dec. 20) for delivery before Christmas.
If you’re a Walmart+ member, place your order by Dec. 22 to guarantee delivery by Christmas. Walmart+ members get Unlimited Free Next-Day and Two-Day Shipping on Walmart orders with no purchase minimum.
If you’re not a Walmart+ member, you’ll get free shipping on orders $35 or more (for all shipping methods), and you should place your order by Dec. 20 to have gifts delivered by Dec. 25 via ground shipping.
For all Walmart orders, check the delivery estimate for each item at checkout.
See all last-minute Walmart deals.
Place your JCPenney orders by Dec. 15 for delivery by Christmas.
JCPenney’s holiday shipping deadline is Dec. 15 with Standard Delivery (which takes 6-8 business days). Standard Delivery is free on orders of $75 or more.
For faster shipping options, choose Expedited Three-Day, Two-Day, or One-Day Shipping. But beware — the fees for expedited shipping can get pretty steep.
JCPenney also offers Same-Day Curbside and In-Store Pickup. You can pick up your order in as soon as two hours, but waiting until Christmas Eve is ALWAYS a risk (no matter where you shop).
For a quick gift delivered the same day, order a JCPenney E-Gift Card. It will be emailed to you within 12 hours.
See all last-minute JCPenney Deals.
Your last day to shop at Home Depot is Dec. 16 to get gifts before Christmas.
Home Depot’s holiday shipping deadline is Dec. 16 for Standard Delivery. Most orders qualify for Free Standard Delivery on orders of $45 or more.
Even though Home Depot offers Free Two-Day Shipping on eligible items, we recommend ordering as close to Dec. 16 as possible (even with expedited delivery).
Home Depot also offers Free Curbside Pickup and In-store Pickup. Some items qualify for store pickup in a matter of hours, but current holiday delays could impact fulfillment speeds.
See all last-minute Home Depot Deals.
Lowe’s Last-Chance shipping deadline is Dec. 14 for delivery before Christmas.
Lowe’s holiday shipping deadline is Dec. 14 with Standard Delivery. And if you’re a MyLowe’s Customer you can get free standard shipping on qualifying orders of $45 or more. Non-MyLowe’s Customers can get free shipping on qualifying orders over $45.
Free Curbside and Store Pickup is also available, but make sure to wait for an email confirming your items are ready for you before heading to the store.
See all last-minute Lowe’s Deals.
Your last day to shop at Gap and Old Navy is Dec. 16 for gifts before Christmas.
Gap and Old Navy’s holiday shipping deadline is Dec. 16 for Standard Delivery (which takes 4-7 business days). If you’re a Gap Goods Rewards member, Standard Delivery is free on orders of $50 or more.
If your order is eligible for Express Shipping, order before 1 PM on Dec. 22. Express Shipping is an extra $16.95.
If your order is eligible for Next Business Day Shipping, order by 1 PM ET on Dec. 23. Next Business Day Shipping is an extra $21.95.
Gap and Old Navy also offer Curbside & In-Store Pickup. Order by 2 PM local time on Dec. 24 to pick up items in just two hours.
See all last-minute Gap Deals.
See all last-minute Old Navy Deals.
Place your L.L. Bean order by Dec. 20 for delivery by Christmas.
L.L. Bean’s holiday shipping deadline is Dec. 20 for standard delivery. You’ll get Free Standard Shipping on orders of $50 or more.
Even for Express Shipping, L.L. Bean recommends Dec. 20 as the cutoff date for holiday packages to arrive by Dec. 25.
You can order L.L. Bean E-Gift Cards for same-day delivery by email.