‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house…
… there was probably a whole lot of stirring, despite what the famous rhyme would have you believe.
Once adulthood hits, the simple, wide-eyed joy of Christmas sometimes takes a backseat to the onslaught of holiday stress. Sure, the decorations are merry and the food is good, but there’s just so much to do.
But if you find it’s suddenly Christmas Eve (when did that happen?) and the bottom of your tree’s still bare, never fear. Consumer culture means most retailers stay open on Dec. 24, many with extended hours.
And if you want to seriously mitigate your creeping yuletide tension, check it out: Lots of those retailers offer free, same-day in-store pickup. Even on Christmas Eve.
In-Store Pickup is the Penny Hoarder Hack You Didn’t Know You Needed
So what’s the big deal about in-store pickup, anyway? You still have to leave the house, after all.
That’s true: It’s not quite as convenient as having your goods delivered to your door.
But in-store pickup is actually genius on a variety of levels, starting with the fact that it’s almost always free.
That means you get all the benefits of online shopping (finding things easily! browsing by category! comparing items across tabs! not discovering an empty shelf where the thing you wanted once was!) — without the associated extra cost of shipping. Yes, please.
What’s more, online shopping means you have the opportunity to stack deals — that is, use cash-back portals, rewards credit cards, discounted gift cards and more to boost your savings. (Here’s our full guide to deal-stacking.)
Since shipping costs are usually enough to swallow whatever you stand to gain by stacking deals, in-store pickup is pretty much the perfect solution.
And although you have to go to the store, you’ll avoid most of the craziness. You won’t have to bump carts with anyone while searching for your items, and often you won’t even have to wait in the main checkout line — you can hit the less-popular customer service desk, instead.
All of this to say nothing of the fact that sometimes, you just need the darn thing that day. Like on Christmas Eve.
Speaking of which…
15 Retailers That Will Offer Free In-Store Pickup on Christmas Eve 2016
Here’s where to head when the holiday catches you short.
Apple stores will be open on Christmas Eve, although hours will vary — check out the schedule at your local branch (get it?) here.
As far as placing an order for in-store pickup, it couldn’t be simpler. According to an email from Apple PR rep Ashley O’Brien, “if the store is open, customers can pick up.”
2. Bed, Bath & Beyond
Bed, Bath & Beyond offers a slightly different take with its “reserve online” program — you’ll only be charged a $1 authorization until you head to the store to pick up your reserved item, which will be available within two hours.
Per a phone rep, Bed, Bath & Beyond stores will be open on Christmas Eve, though hours will vary — and you can still reserve items online that day, so long as they’re in stock.
3. Best Buy
According to Best Buy public relations specialist Katie Huggins, Best Buy will be open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time on Christmas Eve, and customers can place an order for store pickup as late as 4 p.m. that day.
4. The Home Depot
The Home Depot will be open on Christmas Eve, and you can pick up merchandise you order online that day within two hours.
5. J.C. Penney
Your local Penney’s will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Christmas Eve, and yes, you can pick up your order in the store — so long as you place it by noon.
“This year marks the first holiday season for JCPenney to offer buy online, pick up in store same day service in all stores,” wrote corporate communications rep Joey Thomas in an email.
Kohl’s is open Christmas Eve and does offer free store pickup, but we haven’t been able to confirm whether or not it’ll be available on Christmas Eve. We’ll update this post as soon as we hear back.
And a quick note about its policy the rest of the year: If an item is out of stock, you can’t get it shipped to the store — it has to come to a personal address.
This retailer doesn’t just offer in-store pickup — it rewards you for choosing it. You’ll get an extra 15% or 20% off pass for your next Macy’s store purchase.
Most Macy’s stores are open on Christmas Eve, though hours might vary. To take advantage of same-day in-store pickup, the deadline for your order is 12 p.m. local time.
Nordstrom offers free same-day store pickup, and it even has gift-wrapping services.
Most Nordstrom stores are open on Christmas Eve, though they may have shortened hours. According to a customer service phone rep, store pickup will be available on Christmas Eve, but orders should be placed on Dec. 23, “just to be safe.”
9. Pier 1
You’ll be able to pick up merchandise in-store on Christmas Eve, according to Pier 1 public relations manager Melissa Simon, so long as you submit your order at least two hours before closing time in your market.
Check out your local Pier 1’s holiday hours here.
Target’s same-day in-store pickup will be available on Christmas Eve, a representative confirmed on Twitter. Check with your local store for hours, but they probably won’t be overly restrictive. My local branch is open until 9 p.m.
Orders placed before 7 p.m. are “usually ready for pickup within two hours” of placing the order — again, per a tweet.
11. Toys R Us
The kid-focused store is going all out for the holiday season.
From Saturday, Dec. 17 through Friday, Dec. 23, Toys R Us stores nationwide will be open every day from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. local time, and they’ll be open 39 hours straight from 6 a.m. Dec. 23 through 9 p.m. on Christmas Eve.
Luckily, if you want to avoid most of the craziness that’s sure to ensue, you can place an order for in-store pickup as late as 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve.
12. Babies R Us
While Babies R Us isn’t following the big kids’ aggressive schedule, you can still place an order for store pickup on Christmas Eve.
Babies R Us stores will be open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Dec. 24, and you can place your online order as late as 4 p.m.
13. & 14. Sears and Kmart
Sears and Kmart go above and beyond free in-store pickup: If you join the free Shop Your Way membership club, you don’t even have to get out of your car! Just park in the designated spot and someone will hand-deliver your item.
Sears stores will have extended hours all holiday season, and they’ll open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve, and Kmart will be open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Both stores will offer same-day in-store pickup services on the holiday — but to be safe, place your order at least four hours ahead of your desired pickup time.
To minimize the rush of last-minute holiday shoppers, this year Walmart is expanding its in-store pickup services.
You can order eligible items online as late as 6 p.m. on Dec. 23 and pick them up anytime on Christmas Eve, according to Fortune.
Your Turn: Are you finished Christmas shopping yet?
Jamie Cattanach is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder and the kind of annoying, type-A person who finished her holiday shopping weeks ago. Find @JamieCattanach on Twitter to wave hello.