Many of us don't have enough time - or energy - to go and see everyone we care about before Christmas. That means that if you like to shower your loved ones with presents, you'll need to find ways to get them their gifts by Christmas morning.
If you don't fancy popping round before the big day, sending off a package with a friend, and there's absolutely no room on Santa's sleigh, then you'll need to rely on posting your presents.
Every year online retailers do their bit to help your last minute shopping woes and push back the dates and times that you can order online - as long as you're willing to pay a premium.
But even if you opt for the most special of special deliveries, there's always a final cut off point regardless of how frazzled you are from festive shopping. The same goes for if you're posting your presents yourself. Royal Mail is frantic at this time of year and there are certain dates in place that you need to fall on the right side of if you want guaranteed Christmas delivery.
We know you've got a lot to think about in the run up to Christmas, so whether you're ordering from an online retailer this year and need to know the cut off date or you're gathering together a present that you plan on sending via Royal Mail, we've collected together the final dates you need to know about below.
Christmas 2018 online delivery cut off dates
First things first – the DIY approach. If you’re sending cards or gifts through the post yourself, these are the Royal Mail Christmas delivery dates you need to be aware of. 1st class cards and packages need to be sent by 20th December, while pricey special delivery must be sent before 22nd December.
You’re quickly running out of time for Apple delivery – December 19th is your last chance, with a special delivery option.
Stocking filler? Try Apple AirPods
The true-wireless in-ear options from Apple are small, but mightily well designed. They won't blow the ears off of an audiophile, but everyone else will appreciate how easy the Apple AirPods are to use and their intelligent charging case.
Keeping it simple, Argos has just a flat £3.95 delivery fee in the run up to Christmas – though the standard delivery date cut off is 21st December at 8pm, certain stores and certain products can be ordered with fast-track delivery by 6pm on December 23rd for delivery before Christmas at the same cost. Click and Collect orders must be set by 23rd December.
Catch a bargain: Nintendo Switch with Let's Go Pikachu!
If you've been holding out for a Nintendo Switch deal, this Argos offer isn't a bad deal. You get the console, a pair of JoyCons, the latest Pokemon game and a Pokeball controller all in one neat £329.99 package.
If you’re ordering from Amazon, the online retail giant has plenty of experience handling the big Christmas rush. Note there’s quite a lot of tiers here, depending on whether or not you’re an Amazon Prime subscriber, willing to pay for one day delivery, same-day evening, or the premium Prime Now 2 hour delivery option. Note also that those super-last minute Prime Now options aren’t always available for every item on Amazon, so do your research to avoid a panic!
Thursday 20th December: Last day for Free delivery
Friday 21st December: Last day for Standard delivery
Sunday 23rd December: Last day for One-Day delivery
Monday 24th December: Same Day evening delivery (in select areas), Prime Now 2 hour delivery (in select areas on select items)
Stocking filler? Try an Amazon Echo Dot
The most accessible way to get in on the voice-activated speaker action, the latest Amazon Echo Dot, with superior drivers and microphone performance, is well worth a punt at £50 this Christmas.
You can’t be walking around a winter wonderland in last season’s threads, so online fashion retailer ASOS offers loads of different dates and options for deliveries. Note that some of these services are click and collect though, so you’ll have to brave the cold.
Wednesday 19th December: standard Click & Collect
Friday 21st December: next day Click & Collect
Sunday 23rd December: next day delivery (until 10pm)
Monday 24th December: ASOS Instant (until 12pm, dependant on postcode)
Currys PC World
You can leave it quite late if you’re making use of a Currys PC World store. You’ve got until 7pm on December 22nd for Next-Day large items, 23 December at 8pm for Next Day delivery on small items, and you can click to collect yourself instore until 2pm on December 24th.
Unlike other shops on this list, eBay’s wares come entirely from third-party retailers – be they other regular folk looking to offload unwanted gear, or actual chain stores. As such, each individual seller will have their own cut off dates, so be sure to check in with each individual retailer before committing to a purchase.
Wednesday 19th December at 7pm is your cut off for standard delivery with John Lewis, but after that you’re looking at 22 December, 8pm for Next Day (£6.95) or Next day before 10:30 am (£14.95).
Keeping it simple, Zavvi is just keeping its cut off date to 20th December, 9pm for standard delivery. After that, it’s up to using Next Day delivery or Premium Next Day on December 22nd.