If you want to send gifts by mail to friends and family — or just avoid the holiday shopping rush by shopping online — it's almost time to head to the post office or commit to the items in your virtual shopping cart.
According to Consumer Reports, major retailers anticipate online shopping to be "off the charts" this holiday season, which may burden package delivery systems. Below you'll find the recommended holiday shipping deadlines for expected delivery before Dec. 25.
And as you're calculating gift arrival dates, you may notice shipping fees add up. We've also compiled a few retail companies offering free shipping during the holiday season.
Friday, Dec. 14 — Deadline to send Retail Ground packages
Thursday, Dec. 20 — Deadline to send First Class Mail and Priority Mail shipments, which includes greeting cards
Saturday, Dec. 22 — Deadline to send Priory Mail Express (packages will arrive in one to two days depending on the destination)
Monday, Dec. 10 — Deadline to send FedEx SmartPost shipments
Monday, Dec. 17 — Deadline to send FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery shipments
Wednesday, Dec. 19 — Deadline to send FedEx Express Saver shipments
Thursday, Dec. 20 — Deadline to send FedEx 2Day and FedEx 2Day A.M. shipments
Friday, Dec. 21 — Deadline to send FedEx Standard Overnight, FedEx Priority Overnight and FedEx First Overnight
Monday, Dec. 24 — Deadline to send FedEx Express and select FedEx Ground shipments
The following shipping deadlines for UPS are expected to arrive at the destination on Monday, Dec. 24.
Tuesday, Dec. 18 — Deadline to send UPS 3 Day Select shipments
Thursday, Dec. 20 — Deadline to send UPS 2nd Day Air shipments
Friday, Dec. 21 — Deadline to send UPS Next Day Air shipments
Friday, Dec. 14 — Deadline for standard 5-8 day shipping
Friday, Dec. 21 — Deadline for Prime 2-day shipping
Friday, Dec. 21 — Deadline for priority shipping
Stores offering free shipping
The following companies are offering free shipping during the holiday season:
Target — The company is offering free two-day shipping on all orders through Saturday, Dec. 22.
Best Buy — You can score free standard shipping through Dec. 25 on all orders.
Amazon - The online retail hub is offering free shipping with no minimum purchase amount. Your order will be delivered in 5-8 business days after all items are ready to ship.
Walmart — Orders more than $35 have free shipping. The deadline for standard shipping is Dec. 20, and the priority shipping deadline is Dec. 21.