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Dec 212012
 
 December 21, 2012  Posted by  Expired
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If you’re still scrambling to find a gift for those out-of-town friends and relatives, all may not be lost. Here are some ideas and handy resources, including holiday shipping deadlines, for last-minute shoppers.

UPDATE: Amazon.com is offering FREE one-day shipping on select categories (lots of them) right now.

The U.S. Postal service has published a calendar with shipping deadlines on its website:

  • Thursday, December 20: Last day to send First-Class Mail for Christmas arrival.
  • Friday, December 21: Last day to send Priority Mail for Christmas arrival.
  • Saturday, December. 22: Last day for most Express Mail for Christmas arrival.
Look for free or discounted expedited shipping offers. Backcountry.com, for instance, is offering free two-day shipping with the cut-off date of December 20, 2012. Macy’s offers free guaranteed Christmas delivery when you order by December 20. Amazon Prime members also get free two-day shipping on qualifying items. Update: Amazon.com is offering FREE one-day shipping on many categories, which is a great deal. Order before Dec. 20 for most items for arrival before Christmas. See the offer details.

Free Shipping Day is Monday, December 17, 2012. More than 1,600 retailers will offer free shipping, and some will have additional bargains and discounts for your last-minute gifts.

An eGift Card is a popular solution. Usually, eGift cards are sent to your recipient via email, but we’ve seen some this year that can also be delivered via Facebook. (Restaurant.com’s Feed it Forward promo is one example. And those gift cards are completely FREE.)

Some retailers will offer free expedited shipping on physical gift cards. Look for gift cards that offer bonuses and/or no expiration dates. Best Buy will give you a free $10 gift card when you purchase a $50 gift card in the same order. Standard shipping is free and Best Buy guarantees it will get there in time if you order by 1 p.m. (EST) on Wednesday, December 19. (Expedited shipping is only $2.50 per card.)

Many restaurants are offering bonuses with gift purchases, as are some stores.

If the retailer does have a brick-and-mortar location but you want to order online to nab a deal or take advantage of online promo codes, look for free in-store pickup. Walmart and Best Buy are two major retailers that offer it. (And Walmart even lets you order online and pay at the store if you want.) If you’re really in a pinch and buying an awesome gift for someone out of town, you might even ask the recipient to pick up his or her own gift at the store. Yeah — it’s kind of tacky, but note the caveats “awesome gift” and “in a pinch.” You just may be forgiven.

Know someone who is getting a Kindle or a smart phone? Send them ebooks. When you give Kindle ebooks as gifts, you get to pick the delivery date.

By the way, Best Buy has an awesome price on the Kindle Fire ($139), but it has to be picked up in the store.

Still looking for the perfect gift? Check out our gift guides for ideas for everyone on your list:

Carolyn Erickson

Carolyn Erickson is a freelance writer with expertise in business-to-consumer writing and editorial. During her career, she's helped companies like Time Warner Internet, Ethan Allen, Gold's Gym, Stanley Steemer, Empire Vision Centers and others reach local customers with their marketing messages. Her writing has received awards from the Kansas Professional Communicators and the National Federation of Press Women. Most recently, Carolyn has parlayed her experience in digital media as the owner of Wichita on the Cheap into helping small businesses and non-profit organizations establish an Internet and social media presence – on the cheap, of course.

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