Still shopping? Try these last-minute strategies

With less than a week to go before Christmas, consumers' online shopping options for holiday delivery are dwindling.

But it looks like Santa's helpers still have plenty of work to do. As of Dec. 10, the date of the latest National Retail Federation survey, the average shopper had finished just 52.9 percent of his (or her) holiday shopping. (Even so, that's up from 49.9 percent last year.)

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But picking up the remaining items may require forking over more cash for shipping, or braving the mall. (Watch the above video for more tips.) Thursday was Free Shipping Day—marking the last opportunity at many retailers for shoppers to get free standard shipping with delivery on by Christmas. Even then, shoppers had already missed the deadline for stores including Toys R Us and Victoria's Secret. Some retailers had cutoffs as early as Dec. 11, said Kendal Perez, a spokeswoman for deal site CouponSherpa.com.

Holiday Central shopping Macy's
Victor J. Blue | Bloomberg | Getty Images

If you're opting for the mall, it can help to do some planning. Retailers are expecting a surge of store shoppers for so-called Super Saturday, one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year. To avoid a fruitless search for specific items, check to see if you can buy or reserve for in-store pickup, using the "find it in stores" feature online that retailers including Target, Best Buy and Banana Republic employ.

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"As far as getting deals on shipping and expedited shipping online, consumers definitely want to keep their eyes peeled," Perez said. Retailers often run expedited shipping promotions, or push back deadlines if they see the opportunity to grab more sales. "Then they say, just kidding, merry Christmas, we're extending it a few more days," she said. Amazon, for example, just pushed its deadline on free standard shipping back one day to Friday.

But even when you're down to the wire, take time to review order details before you click "buy." Popular items may be back-ordered with a later shipping date, or you may have missed that day's order cutoff for a package to be ready to ship on time.