Christmas is fast approaching, but if you haven't gotten all your holiday shopping done yet, take heart -- there's still time to order and receive a new phone by the 25th with at least a few major online retailers.
These deadlines are for guaranteed delivery by Christmas and assume that items are in-stock and shipping to physical addresses within the contiguous United States. Be aware that new activations occasionally incur delays from carriers, so stay on the safe side and don't wait until the last minute. (This is not a comprehensive list, so feel free to add to this if you see anything missing.)
Many items sold directly by Amazon qualify for free Super Saver Shipping, typically on orders $25 and over. To shave off a couple of days, you can also get a free one-month trial of Amazon Prime for free two-day standard shipping. (In both instances, eligibility is spelled out pretty clearly on the product page.)
Deadlines: Wed 12/17 (FREE Super Saver Shipping), Thu 12/19 (Free two-day shipping with Amazon Prime)
Free shipping on no-contract phones
Deadline: Sun, 12/21
Generally, eligible products have a truck icon denoting free budget shipping.
Deadline: Tues 12/16
Free via FedEx standard shipping.
Deadline: Wed, 12/17
CELL PHONE CARRIERS
Free overnight shipping for phones with 2-year activation (orders placed by 4pm CST are sent the same day). Otherwise, it's free 2-day priority shipping. The website states a deadline of 4pm CST 12/19, to guarantee delivery by Christmas.
Free overnight shipping (orders placed by 6pm CST are sent the same day)
Free overnight shipping (allow 1 to 4 days for processing/fulfillment prior to shipping)
Free overnight shipping (orders placed by 4:30pm local time are sent the same day)