When it comes to holiday shopping, some people start squirreling gifts away mid-summer while others, well, others need the urgency of the deadline to embrace their inner elf. Honestly, there used to be one way that was inarguably the smarter option. However, the early shoppers aren’t the only ones holding the reindeers’ reins anymore.
In 2023, you’re less likely to find yourself cruising the grocery store aisle at midnight on Christmas Eve, hoping for a solid craft item or some candles. There are better last-minute shopping options. With express shipping from several retailers that sometimes deliver in a matter of hours, you could, in theory, save all your holiday shopping until the last minute and not end up disappointing anyone.
This year, Instacart and its 1,400 retail brands are ready for your last-minute(ish) holiday shopping. There are some great discounts to be had this week, and deliveries can be made up until December 23.
If December 23 not late enough in the game, Walmart is slaying (sleighing?) the final hour shipping options this year. Customers can use Walmart Express Delivery to snag gifts or even last-minute cookie ingredients up until 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Amazingly, deliveries happen in one or two hours, which feels like a true holiday miracle. From Dec. 1-31, customers who are Walmart+ members get one Express Delivery for free.
Big-box retailers aren’t the only ones elfing it up until the last minute. Walgreens is offering speedy shipping—in an hour or less—and it’s on duty longer than the man in red. You can order online from Walgreens up until Christmas Day and be prepared with gift cards, electronics, Squishmallows, and more.
Target has extended holiday hours, but guests can also place orders before 4 p.m. local time on Christmas Eve and have them delivered in as soon as one hour. What a time to be alive.
No surprise, Amazon is shipping on Christmas Eve, too. You’ll just have to be careful to only select items with the note “arrives before Christmas.”
Last-minute shipping options can take some of our extra fancy holiday-themed anxiety away. That’s sorely needed given that about 61% of workers report they’re negatively affected during the holiday season, according to Monster’s Holiday Work Life Balance Poll.
However, this scramble for speed is not without its costs. Warehouse and delivery employees, who face longer shifts and sometimes dismal working conditions around the holidays, may be under even more strain this year, especially with Christmas Eve falling on a Sunday. Folks will be relying more heavily on the stores that do provide last-minute shipping, since most mail won’t be delivered after Saturday, December 23. Thankfully, some Amazon fulfillment centers have hired hundreds of extra workers so that the Christmas flurry doesn’t turn into a perfect storm.