Amazon Extends Free Holiday Shipping Deadline, But Still Can’t Control Weather

With the countdown to Christmas officially in the single digits, procrastinators of the world had better get a move on ordering their gifts if they want them delivered by the holiday. That is unless you plan to shop with Amazon, apparently. The online retailer is giving those dragging their feet a little extra time by extending their free Christmas delivery. But, as we’ve learned in the past, just because the company says you’ll get your gift in time doesn’t mean it will actually happen.

Amazon announced Tuesday that customers now have until 11:59 p.m. EST on December 19 to order goods with free-shipping and receive them by Christmas Eve.

The new deadline gives customers one more day than they had last year.

But not all Amazon customers must adhere to the deadline in order to receive their packages in time for holiday festivities. Prime members, who receive free two-day shipping on a number of items, have until December 22 to place their orders.

And for the true procrastinators – those waiting until just hours before the holiday to buy gifts – Amazon offers same-day delivery in 12 major metro cities if orders are placed by 10 a.m. on December 24.

Same-day delivery is available in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Dallas, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C.

While the extended shipping deadlines at Amazon might buy consumers a little extra time, that doesn’t mean overwhelmed shipping companies and weather won’t throw a wrench in your last-minute gifting plans.

That was certainly the case last year when the perfect storm of last-minute purchases, bad weather and shipping companies overcome by demand left many spots under the Christmas tree empty.

In fact, a post-holiday report found that nearly one in three packages promised for Christmas delivery didn’t make it last year.

And while some Christmas miracles occurred, Amazon and other retailers had to issue oodles of apologies, refunds and discounts when packages didn’t make their appearance until after the holiday.

This year several delivery companies are hoping a proactive approach to the busy holiday season prevents a fiasco like last year. So far, companies such as UPS and FedEx have hired extra workers and warned retailers that they’ll face fines if their sales and promised holiday deliveries back up the shipping process.

But if you want to roll the dice with your holiday deliveries, keep in mind the following deadlines for Amazon:

Dec. 19: Free Shipping (order as late as 11:59 p.m. EST)
Dec. 22: Two-Day Shipping
Dec. 23: One-Day Shipping
Dec. 24: Same-Day Delivery (order as late as 10:00 a.m. local time)
Dec. 25: Buy Prime or send an Gift Card

Plenty of Time to Order Online: Amazon Extends Free Shipping Order Cutoff to Dec. 19 [Amazon]

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