Avoid penalties by knowing your Christmas shipping deadlines. The 2019 key U.S. shipping dates for the major carriers look like this, with guaranteed Christmas delivery becoming more expensive as Dec. 25 gets closer:
Retail Ground™ Saturday, Dec. 14
First Class Mail® Friday, Dec. 20
Priority Mail® Saturday, Dec. 21
Priority Mail Express® Monday, Dec, 23
FedEx SmartPost® Monday, Dec. 9
FedEx Ground® Monday, Dec. 16
Home Delivery® Monday, Dec. 16
Express Saver® Thursday, Dec 19
2Day® Services Friday, Dec. 20
Overnight® Services Monday, Dec. 23
Ground® Friday, Dec. 13
3 Day Select® Thursday, Dec. 19
2nd Day Air® Services Friday, Dec. 20
Next Day Air® Services Monday, Dec. 23
Ship Station also offers a handy infographic that sums up all the last days to ship and therefore save money on shipping. Consider printing it out and posting it on the fridge.
Combine your online purchases. To slash the cost of gifts that are coming to your own home, try to concentrate your purchases. "Making multiple purchases at once (rather than buying one item at a time) could help you hit the minimum purchase amount to qualify for free shipping," Consumer Reports noted.
Look into in-store pick-up. You can still shop for Christmas presents in your pajamas without paying for shipping. "See whether the store offers in-store pickup, which allows you to place the order online but pick it up at a walk-in location," CR recommended. "Though the item won't arrive at your doorstep, you'll save on shipping and avoid having to make your way through the crowded store to find the exact item on the shelves."
Consider cutting back on the gift-giving. If you can convince the rest of the family or friend group to go along, one of the best ways to save on shipping is to eliminate some of the gifts you exchange. The tiniest tots, in particular, tend to rake in more than enough Christmas gifts, and might benefit more from a cute card or prepaid plans for an outing next time the family is all in the same place.