The holidays have a funny way of sneaking up on you when you’re living a busy life or surviving a pandemic. One minute it’s Thanksgiving and the next, boom, Christmas is breathing down your neck and you haven’t finished your shopping. Lots of people find themselves engaged in last-minute shopping, and retailers do their best to accommodate.
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While the COVID-19 pandemic has changed many shopping conditions, such as reducing the number of customers in a store at any given time, instituting social distancing guidelines that might slow down lines and encouraging more people to shop online, many stores remain open for shoppers. The key to getting it done is knowing the guidelines. Here are 10 retailers and all you need to know about their holiday hours, COVID-19 safety protocols and shipping deadlines for ordering online.
Last updated: Dec. 18, 2020
Bed Bath & Beyond
Bed Bath & Beyond, the store with something for almost every room in your house, stays open on Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day but with limited hours. Most stores will close around 6 p.m. Meanwhile, this store is trying to make shopping as easy and safe as possible this year by adding buy-online-pickup-in-store and curbside pickup options, plus a brand new service: same-day delivery. Customers who live in eligible ZIP codes can shop online for select products at bedbathandbeyond.com and buybuybaby.com, and choose same-day delivery at checkout. A personal shopper from the company’s same-day delivery partner Shipt will then deliver to the customer’s home for as little as $4.99.
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Best Buy’s holiday hours can vary from store to store, depending on local ordinances and regulations. However, according to its website, it aims to be open extended hours in advance of the holidays, though you will need to contact your local store for specifics. Best Buy has enhanced its COVID-19 safety measures, including mandatory face coverings for employees and customers (with some exceptions), increased sanitation protocols and reduced numbers of customers. To minimize your time spent in-store, you can schedule a store visit ahead of time for a specific service. Its website, BestBuy.com, and app are up and running 24/7, 365 days of the year. However, based on its 2019 shipping schedule, Friday, Dec. 18, is the last date to order large home delivery items in time for Christmas, while most other items can still make it, if in stock, if ordered by Monday, Dec. 21, via two-day shipping.
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Each individual CVS store may keep different holiday hours, though in general, it tends to close on Christmas and New Year’s Day. It’s best to contact the customer service department of your local store for specific closures. One- and two-day delivery is available for most pharmacy prescriptions, but it is a good idea to check on the time frame with your local store around the holidays. Generally, if you order by 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday, you will receive your delivery within one to two days. By 3 p.m. Friday, the items will arrive by Monday. By 2 p.m. Saturday, items will arrive by Tuesday. After 2 p.m. Saturday through Sunday, delivery will arrive by Wednesday. CVS also offers an on-demand delivery service, within four hours of ordering, for select stores and items. Depending on your region and its public health mandates, due to COVID-19, some CVS stores have reduced the number of customers who can shop, and as of July, all stores require face coverings for staff and customers.
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Costco is closed on Christmas and New Year’s Day, but otherwise keeps normal hours during the holidays. While members can still shop inside Costco, due to COVID-19, the stores have implemented numerous changes to keep people safe. These include mandatory face coverings, no longer offering food demos, limiting numbers of shoppers to increase social distancing and prohibiting personal shopping bags. Members ages 60 and older can take advantage of special shopping times, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on weekdays. While Costco doesn’t offer curbside pickup, customers can order online and pick-up in the warehouse for select items. For those ordering off the website, try to order as early as possible, since increased numbers of online shoppers may cause shipping delays this year.
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For those people with DIY projects to get done over the holidays, Home Depot aims to please. It is closed on Christmas, but otherwise should be open at normal hours. Though COVID-19 restrictions have limited the number of customers in some stores, and face masks are required, customers can take advantage of in-store pick-up, curbside pick-up, and a number of different delivery options. So long as an item is in stock, your local store should be able to make good on two-day shipping, but better not wait until the last minute.
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This time-tested retailer only closes down for Christmas Day, but otherwise stays open, albeit with limited hours on Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. The stores have doubled down on their commitment to sanitation during the COVID-19 pandemic, mandating masks, increasing sanitation, making contactless payment options available and installing plastic dividers at checkout. Curbside pickup is available for those who don’t want to go in store.
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The retailer with something for the whole family at affordable prices will only close on Christmas Day, but otherwise keeps regular hours for the holidays. Some individual Kohl’s stores may be closed due to COVID-19, so check the store locator for specific hours. For those that are open, Kohl’s has made significant strides to prioritize safety. In stores, there are dedicated shopping hours for at-risk individuals; single-flow entrance and exits; presanitized carts; protective barriers at check-out and the fitting rooms are closed. Drive-up options are available to those who prefer not to come inside. This may be a shopper’s best bet, as the shipping cut-off for orders to arrive by Christmas was Dec. 14.
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Target aims to make shopping accessible through the holidays, as this one-stop-shop retailer is popular with people who don’t want to make a lot of stops. Though it closes on Christmas Day, Target is open on Christmas Eve, with most stores closing at 8 p.m. and reopening at 7 a.m. on Dec. 26. Like many other big-box stores, Target has instituted strict COVID-19 protocols such as mask requirements, increased sanitation, Plexiglass shields at checkout and special hours for the most at risk. As for ordering online, CNET estimates that it’s probably not wise to guarantee a pre-Christmas delivery after Dec. 15. But you can take advantage of drive-up pickup, order pickup and same-day delivery with Shipt for certain in-stock options.
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The drugstore understands that people still have urgent needs during the holidays. Walgreens is one of a few stores that stays open on Christmas. According to Good Housekeeping, Walgreens stores that regularly operate 24/7 will stay open for Christmas Day, though most likely with reduced hours, closing at 6 p.m. It’s still probably best to call ahead, especially if you’re picking up a prescription. Walgreens has added a new pickup option, as well, where orders placed online can be ready for pickup in as little as 30 minutes. To stay COVID-19 safe, it has implemented face mask requirements, increased sanitation and installed plastic barriers at checkout.
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Walmart pre-empted the holiday crunch by adding and putting thousands of new products on sale as early as September. It is closed on Christmas Day and has reduced hours on Christmas Eve, but otherwise is open regular hours. In addition to contactless payment options in store, it has increased its COVID-19 safety with improved sanitation and face-covering requirements. For those who prefer not to spend too much time in the store, there are pickup and delivery options on more than 160,000 items. Express delivery can deliver select items within two hours, depending on customer location and free next-day or two-day shipping applies to orders over $35, depending on customer location. Walmart’s shipping deadlines will be a relief to last-minute shoppers. For free two-day shipping, place your orders by Dec. 19. For standard shipping, by Dec. 20. And next-day shipping is available on select items through Dec. 21. For in-store pickup, customers must order by Dec. 23 at 4 p.m. local time.
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