Christmas 2021 still has some question marks hanging over it as the emergence of a mutant strain of Covid-19 appears to be leaving open the possibility of stricter Covid-19 measures this winter.
There is also doubt over whether there will be enough food on shelves.
Given these unknowns, you’ll probably want to get your Christmas supermarket delivery or click and collect slot booked in as soon as possible to make sure you’ll be able to get your hands on a turkey, pigs in blankets and all the other trimmings.
Demand for 2021 slots has already been high, so getting organised in advance is going to be vital.
Luckily, NationalWorld has done some of the legwork for you.
So, here’s what the UK’s top supermarket chains have said about their Christmas delivery slots - and how you can book them.
The UK’s biggest supermarket opened up its Christmas 2021 delivery and Click and Collect slots to Delivery Saver pass holders on 16 November.
Slots for customers who are not members of the scheme opened on Tuesday (23 November).
Tesco’s Delivery Saver scheme offers shoppers priority booking, the ability to book slots up to four weeks in advance as well as no delivery charges on shops or Click and Collect slots.
The supermarket offers six-month Any Day passes for either £7.99 a month or £47.94 as a one-off payment.
Tesco said its delivery and collection dates run up to and include Christmas Eve.
The supermarket’s Christmas delivery slots went live on Tuesday (23 November).
But as with Tesco, you’ll need to be signed up to its Delivery Pass scheme to be able to access these slots.
Sainsbury’s version of the scheme allows shoppers to see delivery slots in advance and get priority during busy periods.
Anytime passes cost between £20 and £60 (depending on how long they run for), while Midweek passes (for deliveries from Tuesday to Thursday) are available for between £10 and £30.
For those unwilling to pay for a pass, the remaining delivery slots will go on general release from Tuesday 30 November.
Unlike most of the other major supermarkets, which are carrying out Christmas deliveries until 24 December, Sainsbury’s says its delivery period will run from 20 to 23 December.
If you prefer Click and Collect, Sainsbury’s has already opened bookings for Christmas.
These slots will also be scheduled for between 22 December and Christmas Eve.
Asda has opened its Christmas delivery slots, with orders set to be delivered up to and including Christmas Eve.
You can boost your chances of getting a slot by buying one of the retailer’s three passes: a £6 per month Anytime pass, a £72 Anytime 12-month pass or a £35 Midweek annual pass.
Passholders can expect recurring weekly slots, next day delivery and priority access to Christmas slots as perks of their membership.
Crowned ‘Grocer of the Year’ by trade publication The Grocer in October, Morrisons was the last of the ‘big four’ supermarkets to open up its Christmas delivery slots for 2021.
All of the retailer’s customers can now book a delivery slot for arrival on or before 19 December.
But if you want to book a slot for closer to the big day, you’ll have to join Morrisons’ Delivery Pass scheme.
Starting from £8 a month (or a one-off £65 payment annually) for an Anytime pass, and £5 a month (or £35 annually) for a Midweek one.
Buying one means customers won’t be charged extra for deliveries during busy periods, like Christmas.
At the moment, it is unclear when other customers will have access to delivery slots.
According to Morrisons’ website, those with deliveries booked for 20 and 21 December can alter their orders up to 24 hours before their slot.
But if you book a slot on 22 or 23 December, you’ll have to make sure you’re fully happy with it by 23:55 on 20 December.
And if you’re having your food and drink delivered on Christmas Eve, you’ll need to make all of your changes before the end of the day on 21 December.
Morrisons has also announced that its Christmas Food to Order service (its own version of a Click and Collect scheme, albeit for the festive season) has launched.
Customers using the service can choose from a range of starters, mains, sides, desserts, party food and drinks, including vegan and gluten free options.
A £20 deposit and £20 minimum spend will be required to secure a slot.
Collection slots will fall between 21 and 24 December, with 463 stores across the UK offering the service.
Waitrose is the first bricks and mortar supermarket to have already opened its Christmas delivery slots.
Deliveries will be scheduled between 20 and 24 December.
But expect to face competition.
The upmarket retailer told NationalWorld that demand is high.
Waitrose revealed searches for the term ‘Christmas delivery’ were already up 124% between 1 to 20 September, compared to the same period in 2020.
Those hoping to get a slot will need to be in the vicinity of a Waitrose store and can expect a “small charge” on their deliveries.
Waitrose does not currently offer a delivery pass scheme but operates deliveries seven-days a week, typically between 6am and 10pm.
It is also offering Christmas Click and Collect slots specifically for its Entertaining Range.
Collection dates will be available between 20 and 24 December inclusive.
Online supermarket Ocado - and by extension M&S, whose products it also sells - is the only other retailer to have opened its Christmas delivery slots.
They will be delivered between 20 and 24 December.
But if you were hoping to get one, you are likely to be in for disappointment as the retailer’s slots are essentially sold out.
Ocado wrote on Twitter that “demand is up on last year and slots are selling quickly”, while apologising for “any inconvenience”.
However, it added that availability would depend on the location of its customers and the demand in their area.
Ocado also said more slots could become available.
If you do manage to grab a delivery slot, it will set you back at least £9.99 with Christmas prices likely to be higher as the retailer says it needs to be able to recruit more staff.
This fee does not apply if you are a member of Ocado’s Smart Pass benefits scheme.
The loyalty scheme costs between £8.99 per month or £89.99 annually for an Anytime pass, and between £3.99 per month or £39.99 annually for a Midweek one.
But be wary if you are a last-minute Christmas shopper - Smart Pass’s benefits are suspended during Christmas week, meaning full delivery charges will apply.
What about the UK’s other supermarkets?
Discounter Aldi has opened up its Christmas Click and Collect service.
Shoppers are able to book one-hour collection windows between 19 and 23 December from more than 200 of the supermarket’s UK stores.
Items customers can order are on the Christmas section of the retailer’s website.
It said this service will be ‘contact-free’ as Aldi workers will bring orders directly to customers’ vehicles before loading them.
Lidl does not offer home delivery or click and collect services.
Meanwhile, both the Co-op and Iceland will offer slots closer to the big day.
Co-op customers can book Christmas delivery slots five days in advance, with these being fulfilled up to and including Christmas Eve.
Iceland shoppers can book their delivery slots six days in advance, with deliveries also set to be carried out up to 24 December.
And if you are leaving things to the absolute last minute, delivery app Deliveroo has partnerships with Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Waitrose, Aldi and the Co-op, which allow it to offer a small selection of goods from each retailer.
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