December 20 is this year's drop-dead date for on-time holiday shipping, but if you want to take advantage of free shipping offered by some online retailers, you need to act faster than that. We've looked at this year's free-shipping offers and thrown them into a chart for your reference. In addition, hundreds of retailers are participating in Free Shipping Day on December 17, so if you order on that day, you can take advantage of free shipping and on-time standard delivery. The catch is that you have to order on that day.
We found the very best free-shipping deals at online stores that offer some kind of free shipping year-round -- not just during the holiday shopping season. Amazon.com and Zappos.com have the best policies.
Other stores are running free shipping offers, but they aren't quite as great as those at Amazon, Zappos and Overstock.
||Minimum order for free shipping
||Cut-off date for on-time free shipping
|Sears||$39 for clothes; $49 for toys, shoes, media; $99 for electronics, small appliances, lawn/garden
| Barnes and Noble
||"Fast & Free" delivery minimum $25 on eligible items||Not stated, but probably Dec. 20
| Toys R Us
||Free shipping on select items, $49 minimum
||Not stated, but probably Dec. 16
|Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic||$50 minimum
| J Crew
||$150 minimum, ends Nov. 29
||Free shipping on most items||Not stated, but probably Dec. 20
|Cooking.com||Free shipping on about 200 items||Dec. 19
|Pottery Barn / Williams Sonoma||Free shipping only on select holiday items||Not stated