The holiday dates
Andrey Cherkasov /Shutterstock This year, the big December holidays start early, with the dates falling as follows:
- Hanukkah: The Jewish festival of lights begins on the evening of Tuesday, December 12, 2017, and continues through the evening of Wednesday, December 20. On Hanukkah, gift-giving happens at sundown, along with the candle-lighting and prayer-singing (and don’t forget the latkes and doughnuts). Technically, all this happens every night during the Hanukkah festival. So, if you want to have your Hanukkah gifts all lined up before the first night, you’ll have to make sure to start early in order to get it done by December 12.
- Christmas: This year, just like every year, Christmas is on December 25—a Monday, this year, so you have the weekend for last-minute purchases.
- Kwanzaa: Kwanzaa begins on December 26 every year and ends on New Year’s Day. That places the first day of Kwanzaa on a Tuesday. Since most stores are closed on Christmas, you’ll need to have all your Kwanzaa gifts lined up by Christmas.
Retail analyst Krista Fabregas tells Reader’s Digest, “A good rule of thumb for holiday shopping is the earlier you order, the better.” So use this guide to help you time your holiday shopping and shipping—and put these five holiday shopping tips to use for stress-free mall trips.
The U.S. Postal Service
Via USPS.com Whether you’re ordering from a place that uses USPS or you’re going to be doing your own shipping, you’ll need to know the basics, including what the United States Postal Service (USPS) can promise in terms of shipping times. Jenny Bahun, a spokesperson for Duck® brand packing tape gave Reader’s Digest these cutoffs for getting your gifts into the mail for delivery by the first day of Hanukkah or Christmas/Kwanzaa (for delivery in the U.S. only):
- December 6 or 19: cutoff for USPS First-Class Mail Service
- December 7 or 20: cutoff for USPS Priority Mail Service
- December 9 or 22: cutoff for USPS Priority Mail Express Service