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How to Get Free Last-Minute Shipping

First, the bad news: the cut off for free shipping on most online sites was Tuesday, Dec 18th. But the good news – we’ve got some sneaky ways to finagle free rush shipping and a list of sites still offering free shipping guaranteed to arrive before December 25th.

Free Rush Shipping
Some of the biggest online retailers are still offering free last minute shipping:

  • Barnes & Noble – free shipping on Nook HD through Dec. 22
  • MacMall – free 2-day shipping on orders over $299 and under 25lbs – through 6 p.m. PST Dec. 22.
  • Macy’s – free shipping on orders over $99. Place order 11:59 p.m. EST Dec. 20.
  • The Northface – free 2-day shipping on everything through 11:59 p.m. Dec. 19.
  • Walmart.com has extended free shipping through December 19th on some items (check product page for eligibility)
  • Overstock.com – free shipping on select gifts. Place order by Dec. 22 to receive by Christmas.
  • Newegg Free 2-Day shipping on over 200 items
  • Target – free shipping on Daily Deals
  • Victoria's Secret – free shipping on orders over $100 using code “SHIP12.” Order by 5 p.m. EST on Dec. 20.
  • Zappos – free shipping for all items with guaranteed Christmas delivery if ordered by 11:59 p.m. PST Dec. 22.

And the biggest of the big online retailers, Amazon, has a limited set of items available for free expedited shipping. These include jewelry, watches, clothing, video games, laptops, headphones, and kitchen items.

[Related: Great Gifts for Under $25]

But since many of the above deals are limited to select items, take a look at…

How to Get Free 2-Day Shipping on Just About Everything
Amazon Prime is a yearly subscription service. In exchange for a $79 fee, you get free 2 day shipping all year long. And yes, that also applies at Christmas (must order by 3 p.m. EST Dec. 22 to receive on time). Best deal is that you can get a free 6-month trial.

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And here’s the real sneaky surprise: Do you have a family member who already belongs to Prime? They can nominate up to four people for the same free shipping benefits. Prime members nominate someone by going to their account, clicking “Settings” and “Manage Prime Membership.”

Also, Amazon Student is a free 6-month membership to Prime with all the benefits, providing you have an email address that ends in .edu.

But you don’t have to limit yourself to Amazon. Shoprunner.com also offers free 2-day shipping, though the membership service costs $8.95 a month – so not entirely free, but if you have numerous items still to buy, you could save a bundle. And Shoprunner has tons of participating online retailers like Toys R Us, Sports Authority, Claire’s, PetSmart and EMS. Say you want to buy something from PetSmart.com, if you sign in with Shoprunner, many of the items on the site will be eligible for free 2-day shipping. One more thing to try: I was able to sign up for a free 1-year membership to Shoprunner using the promo code RUNNER. The site implied I had to be an American Express member, but it never asked for my details about the credit card, and now I have a membership. Good luck.

Ship to Store
Finally, the best last-minute option for many is to ship to store. You peruse all the options from home, pay online, and then pick up your selection at your local store. Tons of big retailers offer this service, and it guarantees your item will be in stock and waiting for you at customer service. Major retailers offering free Ship to Store include :

  • Best Buy
  • Target
  • Toys R Us
  • Walmart
  • Sears

[Related: Best E-Reader for Under $100]

Brad Marshland contributed to this story.

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