By Laura Heller, dealnews contributor It may not have made it onto calendars yet, but December 17 is now known as Free Shipping Day, a made-up holiday shopping event (not unlike National Regifting Day) that is angling to be the next Black Friday or Cyber Monday. But while our archives indicate that the latter two events actually result in concrete deals that live up to the hype, the same cannot be said of Free Shipping Day — and you should be weary of putting off your holiday shopping just to get the supposed discount on delivery. The site boasts more than 1,300 participating merchants for 2012, with 77% offering free shipping on all orders. It is difficult to assess the deals since they are "hidden" until the 17th, but based on offers from years past, a large number of the retailers will have restrictions on the type of products that qualify for free shipping or will require minimum orders. Moreover, the sheer number of participants might be misleading, as you probably haven't heard of the majority of them. It's important to realize, too, that many retailers have already been offering free shipping, throughout the entire holiday season. It would be erroneous to assume that December 17 is the only day to receive such a discount. In fact, the demand for free shipping throughout the entire year has become so high that many retailers regularly offer discounted delivery. Case in point: one of the stores included in the list, Shopbop, has been offering free shipping every day for several years. Best Buy is another store that's noted to be participating in Free Shipping Day, but when we checked the hundreds of deals we've posted from Best Buy in just the past two months, a whopping 93% of them included free shipping. So why would you wait until December 17 to order? Waiting, in fact, could be harmful if you're aim is finishing holiday shopping. Christmas delivery deadlines are fast approaching, so holding off until December 17 to take advantage of free shipping that might be available to you now anyway, isn't smart. Instead, search for free shipping promotions and be aware of stores' shipping deadlines for Christmas Eve delivery. Note that this feature has been updated since it was originally published last fall. Front page photo credit: Quick Medical Related dealnews Features: Guaranteed Christmas Delivery Shipping Deadlines for 2012 A Buyer's Guide to Extended Holiday Returns for Christmas 2012 Brand-Name HDTVs Will See Black Friday Prices by the End of the Year Laura Heller is a freelance writer based in Chicago who specializes in mass market retail trends and consumer electronics industries. You can follow her on Twitter @lfheller. Follow @dealnews on Twitter for the latest roundups, price trend info, and stories. You can also sign up for an email alert for all dealnews features.