For many merchants, the magic day is Thursday, Dec. 17, declared this year’s Free Shipping Day, which means it’s the last day to order gifts and get free shipping in time for Christmas. Check the site for the list of more than 500 participating e-tailers, plus the cut-off days for rush delivery (for most, the outer limit is Dec. 22 or 23, so you have to plan ahead just a little, and you’ll have to pay more, of course).If you don’t see the retailer you’re looking for, there are a couple more Web sites to check: Freeshipping.org, which has coupon codes for free shipping, and istobe.com/freeshipping (this one from our friends at Consumerist.com).
And if you’ve already bought gifts and are wondering how much time you have to ship them yourself, here are cut-off dates for the big shipping companies:
Fed Ex: Thursday, Dec. 17 for Fed Ex ground. Rush delivery buys you more time.
UPS: Wednesday, Dec. 16 (use this online calculator to see if you have more time).
United States Postal Service: Wednesday, Dec. 16 for shipping deadlines; Monday, Dec. 21 for first class.
Check here for rush delivery dates.
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