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With the current delays, here’s when you need to order your holiday gifts by

PHOTOGRAPHY BY JESPER HEDE
WORDS BY AMY FOCIC

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Holiday season always seems to arrive abruptly, as if we weren’t expecting it. You’re at your local shopping centre and all of a sudden there are Christmas trees up, and your inbox is filled with brands dropping holiday collections.

And so the scramble to purchase gifts begins. Since the onset of pandemic-induced lockdowns, online shopping has exploded and global supply chains have been disrupted, blowing out the usual delivery timeframes this year.


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If you’ll be ordering your gifts online this year, I regret to inform you that you’ll have to get organised, stat.

When do I need to have my presents ordered by?

It varies by state. For example, in Victoria, you’ll have until December 16 to place your order for any standard domestic deliveries through Australia Post. For all other states, businesses have until December 17 to post to customers in their own state.

The remainder of the cut-off dates for businesses posting to other states vary, with the earliest being Tasmanian businesses posting to the Northern Territory – they have until December 8 to get their parcels in.

Businesses in other states posting to Western Australia and the Northern Territory have to get in early too, with Australia Post cutting off delivery to these states on December nine or 10.

For express post, businesses in all states except the Northern Territory have until December 21 to post to customers in their own state (Northern Territory businesses have until December 15). Otherwise, cut-off dates for businesses sending parcels through express post interstate are December 15, December 17 and December 20, depending on the state.

However, there are some additional considerations that mean you’ll most likely need to place your order earlier.

The cut-off dates listed above apply to businesses, not shoppers like you and me. The dates are set by Australia Post and specify the date Australian businesses need to have their orders shipped out. This means if you’re ordering from a small business (which we encourage you to do!) you’ll need to allow some time for them to process and pack your order.

So how much extra time should I allow?

This will depend on the business, and most will list on their website. Consider weekends and office hours, and the fact many are working with small teams at a busy time.

If you want to buy from The Iconic, for example, the latest you can order is December 22 to get your order by Christmas via express post to metro areas. For David Jones on the other hand, you’ll have to order express by December 15 to make sure your parcel gets to you in time.

But wait, there’s more

Many small businesses opt for other delivery services, like Sendle or Aramex, which could have different delivery cut-off dates. Be sure to check with the business you’re ordering from to see if their choice of courier will affect delivery times.

What are the international delivery cut-off dates?

With Australia Post, these dates will vary significantly depending on which country businesses are sending their parcel to. For most countries, it’s best that you send your parcel express by November 26.

What about in-store shopping?

Can’t get yourself together to buy all your gifts online in time? Fear not! Retail stores are open all over the country, so you can purchase presents the old fashioned way if you need.

We should note – you have to be fully vaccinated to visit retail premises in New South Wales and in Victoria (but only from November 24). And in New South Wales, Victoria, the ACT, and South Australia, you’ll have to wear a mask too.

Of course, shops are closed on Christmas Day itself, but many bigger shopping centres will have extended hours in the lead up to Christmas – be sure to check before you go.

If worse comes to worst, an e-gift card always makes a stellar last minute gift.

See more Christmas delivery cut-off dates for specific retailers here.

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