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Still hoping to shop online for Christmas gifts? Read this first

We put eleven popular retailers, from Amazon to Zara, to the test on shipping times in December.
Unsure if there's still time to order a Christmas gift that's been on your list? Be sure to check cut-off delivery dates before committing.

Before ransacking the gift card rack at the supermarket, there is still time to find the right gift for your favourite niece or impossible-to-buy for mom without stepping into a crowded mall.

Using our very long Christmas list and holiday shopping season as a metric, we can compare retailer delivery dates versus its delivery policy to see which stores are the best bet for pre-Christmas arrival. Shopping options are arranged in alphabetical order from Amazon to Zara. 

Are you stumped on ideas? Check out our comprehensive gift guides with dozens of ideas at multiple price points.

How to pick a Christmas gift she'll love.

The skin care, beauty and grooming holiday gift guide.

The holiday gift guide for teens and tweens.

17 gifts for cooks, bakers and lovers of all things tasty.

The Grinch Guide: What to buy for the person who hates everything.

Amazon (with Prime membership)

Item ordered: Nintendo Switch game Super Mario Maker. (See this gift and more in our Amazon Storefront.) 

Order date: Dec. 9.

Delivery date: Dec. 11.

The official policy: Use the Prime filter when shopping (there's a toggle button at the top of the page) for clear delivery windows, and beware of "may arrive after Christmas" items.

Delivery tips: There's an increase in sponsored items on Amazon, but scroll past those. Look for the "sold and shipped by Amazon" description to ensure the fastest delivery.


Item ordered: The cozy fleece boyfriend hoodie

Order date: Dec. 8.

Delivery date: Dec. 12.

The official policy: Holiday orders placed by Dec. 21 will be delivered by Dec. 24 (barring any weather events, which can seriously delay postal carriers). 

Delivery tips: Artizia has in-store pickup as an option and three delivery tiers (standard, express and priority) ranging from free to $22 per order.

Borderfree (for select American retailers)

Item ordered: Jeans from Bloomingdale's.

Order date: Dec. 6

Delivery date: Dec.11

The official policy: Delivery takes 4-15 days.

Delivery tips: Borderfree is a third-party delivery system that works with multiple U.S. retailers to ensure seamless delivery. Duty and taxes are pre-paid, and for this package, I allowed for "contactless delivery" by pre-authorizing DHL to drop it at my door. (If porch pirates are an issue in your neighbourhood, this is not recommended.)


Item ordered: The Alpaca crew

Order date: Nov. 23.

Date delivered: It has not arrived as of Dec. 12.

The official policy: Standard (DHL) is 4-10 business days.

Delivery tips: There is the option to pay for Express delivery via DHL, but at $30, it's a premium service and Everlane ship times to Canada tend to be much longer than posted on its website.

Gap/Old Navy

Item ordered: Jacquard silk pyjamas.

Order date: Nov. 21.

Date delivered: Dec. 1.

The official policy: Basic free shipping is 7-9 business days for orders $35+.

Delivery tips: There are multiple expedited shipping tiers (like priority which is 1-2 business days for $25) and in-store pickup options.


Item ordered: Ina Garten cookbook.

Order date: Nov. 28.

Delivery date: Has not arrived.

The official policy: 1-7 days after the order has shipped.

Delivery tips: There are a few issues with Indigo's unusually long delivery times, including that it takes several days for items to ship, and there is no clear-cut information on which carrier company is used. Other options for pressing holiday timelines are ordering select items through Instacart (with a delivery fee) or pick up in-store.


Item ordered: A Verturo machine and a selection of espresso pods.

Order date: Dec. 8.

Delivery date: Dec. 9:

The official policy: 3-6 business days in Canada.

Delivery tips: For those not near a Nespresso boutique, the only way to refill a coffee order is online, and thankfully, Nespresso delivers (very quickly). The official shipping timeline is 3-6 days, but it seems like they typically ship much faster than that.


Item ordered: UGG Scufette slipper.

Order date: Dec. 3.

Delivery date: Dec. 7.

The official policy: That depends – when browsing an item, there's an area where shoppers can input their postal code for estimated delivery dates.

Delivery tips: Nordstrom does offer in-store pickup, but with just one location in B.C., that might not be an option for many. Luckily, its online shipping system is efficient.


Item ordered: Supergoop sunscreen (for a January vacation).

Order date: Dec. 6.

Delivery date: Dec. 9.

The official policy: Sephora takes shipping very seriously and has a detailed timetable for Canadian deliveries, including remote locations and other provinces. (The last day for B.C. is Dec. 21.)

Delivery tips: Sephora tends to have quite speedy home delivery and the option of in-store pickup, as well as selected items available on Instacart.


Item ordered: A limited-edition vintage-style Nike shirt.

Order date: Dec. 3.

Delivery date: Dec. 6.

The official policy: Standard delivery to B.C. is listed as 6-9 days, and for priority, 6-8 days. Anecdotally, Ssense ships much quicker than that.

Delivery tips: As Ssense is based in Quebec, there are no duty charges (much easier for Canadian shoppers). It also tends to start its sales, like Boxing Day, earlier than other major retailers. 


Item ordered: Striped half-zip sweater.

Order date: Nov. 29.

Delivery date: It has not arrived, and there is no scheduled date in the system.  

The official policy: 1-5 business days.

Delivery tips: Zara typically ships through Canada Post (which is easy to track) but perhaps because of the busy holiday season or continuing supply chain issues, it is using an outside courier and the delivery times are longer and less predictable.