PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) -- Let's let you in on a little secret: There isn't a holiday gift delivery deadline.
If you wanted to get the cheapest price on sending a gift through the U.S. Postal Service via its Standard Post service with its small $5.80 or large $16.95 flat-rate box, you have only until Saturday to do so if you want your gift to arrive by Christmas. From that point on, it's just the small matter of the price you're willing to pay.
If you're lucky enough to be in New York City, Houston, Memphis, Baltimore, Tampa or Phoenix, FedEx (FDX) is offering same-day shipping within those cities this year, but will also do same-day shipping throughout all 50 states. It requires creating a user ID and accepting fees of $25 or more, depending on the distance, but this is what you're up against when you wait this long. UPS' (UPS) Express Critical Service is the only way you're going to get that particular outfit to deliver after Christmas Eve, and it's not going to be pretty.
If the money matters and you don't feel like doubling the price of your gift just to buy some shopping time, stop sitting around wondering how much time you have until you have to pull the trigger on those cost-prohibitive option. Every moment you waste just takes another option off the table. For example, deadline for FedEx's somewhat inexpensive SmartPost service is today. Its FedEx Ground and home delivery aren't around much longer after that, with the last packages being sent off Monday. That's ahead of the Dec. 19 cutoff for its Express Saver service, but well in advance of the Dec. 20 mark for both First Class mail (still plenty of time to procrastinate on those Christmas cards) and UPS' normal pickup and delivery service.