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They might seem a ways off yet, but the holidays are quickly approaching. The kickoff of Amazon Prime Day in October was the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season for retailers and shoppers alike.
This year, you can expect major retailers and brands to release Black Friday deals earlier than before in an effort to encourage early shopping, to avoid shipping delays and to discourage customers from overcrowding stores with long lines.
Walmart, for example, is doing Black Friday differently in 2020. Instead of releasing Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals on Thanksgiving weekend, Walmart will offer three sales events throughout November called “Black Friday Deals for Days,” with early exclusive deals online. Walmart’s first batch of Black Friday deals goes live as early as Nov. 4.
Because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, you may be planning not to spend the holidays with your family and friends and instead to mail your gifts this year via FedEx, UPS or the Postal Service. Whether you’re shipping an ugly sweater or a Nintendo Switch, you’ll want it to arrive on time.
To help you prepare for the holidays, here’s everything you need to know about retailer shipping deadlines for Christmas and holiday shipping deadlines for FedEx, UPS and the Postal Service if you plan on shipping gifts yourself.
What to know about retailer shipping deadlines
Retailers have begun announcing the last dates you can place orders to ensure that your items arrive before Christmas.
Warby Parker has one of the earliest shipping cutoff dates this year. Orders placed after Dec. 15 aren’t guaranteed to arrive on time.
Bedding brand Parachute has a holiday shipping cutoff date of Dec. 16. Given how popular its sheets and robes are as gifts — the robe once boasted a 2,000-person waitlist — you may want to buy sooner than later.
How late is too late to order your Christmas gifts this year? That depends on a lot of factors, according to Julie Ramhold, a consumer analyst with DealNews.com.
If you’re waiting as late as Black Friday to shop this holiday season, Ramhold cautioned that there’s a chance your packages won’t arrive in time for the holidays.
“I definitely wouldn’t push it to Green Monday this year, which is traditionally when some consumers make sure to place their orders,” Ramhold told HuffPost Finds. Green Monday refers to one of the retail industry’s most profitable days, the second Monday in December. This year, Green Monday is Dec. 14.
“Odds are, 10 days between your order and Christmas won’t be anywhere near enough time for orders to arrive,” Ramhold said.
Getting the best deals before Black Friday and Cyber Monday
If you’re delaying your holiday gift shopping in hopes of getting a better price on Black Friday, Cyber Monday or even later in the season, Ramhold suggested checking the price-matching policies at your favorite retailers. This year, many are extending their price-matching policies and will refund the difference if the price drops in-store or online within a certain window of time.
Many retailers encourage you to shop sooner than later by promoting holiday deals as soon as possible, Ramhold said.
“Basically, we’re expecting Black Friday to encompass a whole month this year rather than just a few days or a week.”
You may have noticed that Amazon launched holiday deals right after Prime Day wrapped. Walmart’s Black Friday Deals for Days event, for example, will go live on Nov. 4, Nov. 11 and Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving.
FedEx, UPS, Postal Service: The last day to ship your own packages before Christmas
If you plan on shipping your gifts to family and friends this year, keep in mind that the Postal Service and shipping services such as UPS and FedEx will be in high demand this year.
We recommend packing and shipping your gifts as soon as possible to avoid delays and to ensure your gifts arrive on time.
FedEx, UPS and the Postal Service said they have holiday shipping deadlines as late as Dec. 23. But we don’t recommend waiting until the last minute.
Below, we list full shipping deadlines for FedEx, UPS and the Postal Service so you can plan your holiday shopping and order gifts for everyone on your list (including yourself) and ensure that they arrive on time.
We’ve rounded up a list of the holiday 2020 shipping deadlines to know. Be sure to check back, as we’ll be adding to this list as we learn more.
Christmas shipping deadlines for the 2020 holiday season
The last shipping date at Banana Republic is Dec. 19.
The last shipping date at Banana Republic Factory is Dec. 20.
The last shipping date at Etsy is Dec. 17, but individual shops may have their own shipping cutoff dates. Get your engraved, personalized and customized gifts earlier than usual this year.
The last day to ship with FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery is Dec. 15. The last day to ship with FedEx Express is Dec. 21, and the last day to ship with FedEx Standard or Priority Overnight is Dec. 23. Here is the full list of FedEx shipping deadlines.
The last shipping date at Lululemon is Dec. 21.
The last shipping date at Package Free is Dec. 16.
The last shipping date at Parachute is Dec. 16.
The last day to ship with UPS Ground is Dec. 15, and the last day to ship with UPS Three Day Select is Dec. 21. UPS Second Day Air must be sent by Dec. 22, and the last day to ship with UPS Next Day Air is Dec. 23. Here is the full list of UPS shipping deadlines.
The last day to ship with Postal Service Retail Ground Service is Dec. 15. The last day to ship with First Class Mail Service is Dec. 18, and the last day to ship with Priority Mail Service is Dec. 19. Priority Mail Express Service but be sent by Dec. 23. Here is the full list of Postal Service shipping deadlines.
The last shipping date at Warby Parker is Dec. 15.