Want Your Christmas Gifts to Arrive on Time? These Are the Shipping Deadlines to Know

iStock.com/RuthBlack
iStock.com/RuthBlack

There’s still time to order Christmas presents online for this year, but you’ll have to act fast if you want to receive your toys, gadgets, and other miscellaneous gifts by December 25. Consumer Reports recently rounded up a list of holiday shipping deadlines for 2018 from FedEx, UPS, the U.S. Postal Service, and several popular retailers, and they're coming up fast.

Ideally, holiday orders should be placed between December 10 and December 18 at the very latest for delivery within the U.S., depending on which shipping service you use. Consumer Reports said online shopping orders are expected to be “off the charts this year,” which could slow down shipping.

If you want to take advantage of lower standard shipping rates, FedEx recommends placing Christmas orders before December 10 for its FedEx SmartPost service. For the U.S. Postal Service’s basic ground shipping option, orders should be placed by December 14, while UPS promises to deliver your packages on time as long as you order by December 18. Premium shipping options are also available, and those orders can be placed between December 22 and December 25, depending on the service.

Amazon, which recently announced it will offer free holiday shipping to U.S. customers this year without requiring any minimum spending threshold, hasn’t set any holiday-specific shipping deadlines yet. However, Consumer Reports notes that most Amazon deliveries take three to 10 days to arrive via standard shipping.

You may also want to consider holding out for Free Shipping Day, which will be observed by hundreds of online retailers on December 14. Don’t stress about the timing, though—they promise to get your presents to you by Christmas Eve.

Head to the Consumer Reports website for more detailed shipping guidelines, and keep checking for updates as other retailers announce their holiday-specific deadlines.

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

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More Than 38,000 Pounds of Ground Beef Has Been Recalled

Beef-ware.
Beef-ware.
Angele J, Pexels

Your lettuce-based summer salads are safe for the moment, but there are other products you should be careful about using these days: Certain brands of hand sanitizer, for example, have been recalled for containing methanol. And as Real Simple reports, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) recently recalled 38,406 pounds of ground beef.

When JBS Food Canada ULC shipped the beef over the border from its plant in Alberta, Canada, it somehow skirted the import reinspection process, so FSIS never verified that it met U.S. food safety standards. In other words, we don’t know if there’s anything wrong with it—and no reports of illness have been tied to it so far—but eating unapproved beef is simply not worth the risk.

The beef entered the country on July 13 as raw, frozen, boneless head meat products, and Balter Meat Company processed it into 80-pound boxes of ground beef. It was sent to holding locations in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina before heading to retailers that may not be specific to those four states. According to a press release, FSIS will post the list of retailers on its website after it confirms them.

In the meantime, it’s up to consumers to toss any ground beef with labels that match those here [PDF]. Keep an eye out for lot codes 2020A and 2030A, establishment number 11126, and use-or-freeze-by dates August 9 and August 10.

[h/t Real Simple]