Amazon.com has extended the ordering deadline for free shipping to Tuesday (Dec. 18) for free delivery by Christmas Eve, which falls on the following Monday this year.
The extra weekend before the official holiday is good for local shopping , but means if you're shipping a gift, you'll have to plan ahead.
Amazon's shipping deadlines are similar to most other online retailers, but its free shipping options are some of the most generous you'll find on the Internet. Here are the drop-dead dates to keep in mind if you've got gifts to ship:
Dec. 18: Free Super Saver Shipping (available on orders $25 and over)
Dec. 19: Standard shipping
Dec. 21: Two-day shipping available on orders placed by 7 p.m. ET. Amazon Prime member orders ship for free. (Amazon Prime is a $79 annual membership program that offers free and reduced shipping along with free streaming movies and the ability to "borrow" Kindle e-books at no charge.)
Dec. 22: One-day shipping on orders placed by 3 p.m. ET (As low as $3.99 for Prime members.)
Dec. 24: Local Express Delivery, which means same-day delivery (available in 10 major cities, including New York, Boston, Phoenix and Seattle).
Dec. 25: Email and printable Amazon Gift Cards can be sent immediately, a godsend for those faced with unexpected guests bearing gifts.
Some retailers are a bit more generous about their standard shipping deadlines for the holiday . For instance, you may place an order with Best Buy until 1 p.m. ET on Wednesday (Dec. 19) and have your gift delivered by Christmas, while Walmart's Wednesday deadline is midnight. But when the clock strikes 12, you'll be looking at rush charges from most online sources.