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Today is the busiest day of the year for the United States Postal Service and Tuesday brings the first deadlines for shoppers seeking to have packages delivered by Christmas morning.
If you still have shopping to do before the holidays, be sure to remember these top tips for a Last-Minute Christmas.
1. Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines.
Remember that the post office, Amazon, FedEx, and UPS are going to be busy this week. Keep in mind the deadlines they set for Christmas Day delivery.
Tuesday, Dec 17: Last day for Amazon's free standard shipping and FedEx's ground shipping.
Wednesday, Dec 18: Amazon's last day for standard shipping
Friday, Dec 20: Last day for the Post Office's standard, first-class mail.
Saturday, Dec. 21: Last day for Amazon's expedited shipping, the post office's priority, UPS's shipping, and FedEx's 2-day.
Christmas week: FedEx is your last chance on Christmas Week. Order Overnight shipping by 12/23 or same-day shipping on 12/25.
2. Free Shipping Day
Free Shipping Day is now honored by hundreds of online retailers who promise that if you order on Dec. 18, you will receive your packages by Dec. 24 and do not have to pay for shipping. Some of the retailers who have already announced their participation this year include Bass Pro Shops, Harry and David, REI, and Lord and Taylor. Some online outlets, like L.L. Bean, offer free shipping year-round.
A full list is available at freeshoppingday.com, and more retailers will announce on Dec. 18.
3. Bail on internet shopping, hit the mall.
Crowds thin out as the holiday nears, and so do retailers' prices. Stores are likely to offer discounts right up until Christmas Day, so if you miss the chance to order gifts online in time for delivery deadlines, hit the mall or local stores.