The shipping deadlines to heed for the 2016 holiday season. Reuters

With the holidays rapidly approaching, it’s high time for shoppers to purchase and send off any last-minute gifts if they would like them to arrive before Christmas.

Although there is still time left, it’s down-to-the-wire for those who still wish to ship any gifts from major retailers or through shipping services like UPS or FedEx.

Around 92 percent of retailers that participated in a Shop.org survey for 2014 offered some sort of standard free shipping for the holidays, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). The survey also relayed that free shipping around the holidays drove many customers' purchasing decisions, and around 86 percent of shoppers agreed that free shipping was an important factor.

As a holiday saving-grace, “Free Shipping Day” will occur Friday and nearly 1,000 stores will be offering free shipping on that day with guaranteed arrival dates by Christmas Eve on orders, according to Best Black Friday.

For shoppers who are planning on shipping gifts internationally, FedEx offers some tips on how to package and send off packages abroad. For shipments to countries that acknowledge special entry status for gift shipments, senders should clearly mark documents “GIFT.” In addition, “a maximum dollar amount for duty and tax exemption usually applies,” according to the company’s site.

Gifts can enter a country duty-free if they are valued under a certain amount, which varies with the country. Finally, if an item is shipped to someone noted as CAD$20 or less, the item is exempt from taxation and is duty-free. However, there are exceptions: Books, tobacco, periodicals, alcohol and magazines do not fall under the CAD$20 exemption.

When it comes to sending off holiday gifts from shipping outposts, heed the following shipment deadlines and dates.

Amazon boxes. These are the shipping deadlines for the 2016 holidays. Reuters


-UPS 2nd Day Air (Dec. 21), UPS 3 Day Select (Dec. 19), UPS Next Day Air and UPS 2nd Day Air (Dec. 22), UPS Next Day Air for Saturday (Dec. 23).


-Free Shipping (Dec. 16), Standard Shipping (Dec. 19), 2-Day Shipping, or free with Prime (Dec. 22), One-Day Shipping for select cities and free for Prime members (Dec. 23), Same-Day Delivery in select cities and free with Prime (Dec. 24 by 9:30 a.m. local time or earlier), 2-Hour Delivery in select cities and free for members with Prime Now (Dec. 24 by 9:45 p.m. local time or earlier).


-Home Delivery and Ground option (Dec. 16), FedEx Smartpost (Dec. 12), Express Saver option (Dec. 20), 2-Day and 2-Day a.m. option (Dec. 21), Standard overnight, First Overnight and Priority Overnight (Dec. 22), Standard SameDay City option (Dec. 23), SameDay and SameDay City, priority (Dec. 25).


-First-Class Mail Service (Dec. 20), USPS Retail Ground option (Dec. 15), DNDC Drop Ship option (Dec. 19), Priority Mail Service (Dec. 20), DDU Drop Ship (Dec. 22), Priority Mail Express Service (Dec. 23).