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Online Gift Ordering Deadlines Loom

How much can you procrastinate and still get online purchases under the tree by Christmas?

There's still a week's worth of shopping days before Christmas for those willing to brave the malls and gifts sent by the US Postal Service's Express Mail on Saturday can get to their destinations by Christmas.

But there are different holiday deadlines for procrastinating gift givers who prefer to shop via computer.

Online shoppers still on the hunt for deals should take advantage of Free Shipping Day today (Monday). It's arguably a farce because many online retailers already offer free shipping throughout the holiday season but some stores have special sales for the day or discount codes. This Time article gives a rundown of the best deals.

Online retail behemoth Amazon.com can provide local express delivery by Dec. 25 for gifts ordered as late as Christmas Eve. The website also has one-day shipping available for orders placed by noon Saturday. The best deal to get delivery before Christmas is to order by Wednesday—shipping is free.

Also, remember that some Amazon products come from independent sellers who may need longer to get the gifts in the mail. Be sure to check the fine print when ordering.

Here are more deadlines from online retailers:

  • For REI.com, order by 9 a.m. on Friday and use "express shipping."
  • Zappos.com guarantees Christmas delivery for orders placed before midnight Saturday.
  • Walmart.com offers one-day rush shipping
  • eBay.com has a gift guide full of items that can be sent via expedited shipping so they arrive in time for Christmas.
  • Best Buy can guarantee delivery by Christmas for standard shipping orders placed before 10 a.m. Wednesday.
  • On Target.com, order by midnight on Wednesday and choose "seasonal shipping" to get gifts by Dec. 25.

Run out of time? As a last-ditch effort, give a gift card. Most online retailers offer gift certificates that can be purchased on their websites and printed out.

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