Last posting dates before Christmas 2020

Make sure your gifts arrive in time for Christmas!

toy post box in front of Christmas tree

With Christmas just around the corner in a year like no other, many of us are looking to ship our presents out to loved ones over the coming weeks so it's more important than ever to know the last postal dates before Christmas.

With the pandemic and the new tier system (opens in new tab) set to continue slowing post down for the rest of the year, knowing the last posting dates for Christmas has got to be at the top of all our priority lists. Otherwise, there's no guarantee that all our presents, Christmas cards and season's greetings will make it in time.

After all in the second national lockdown (opens in new tab) in England, post offices stayed (opens in new tab) open along with other essential services but there were still some delays and big long queues outside the post office in many parts of the country.

So to help us get ready for Christmas and start posting out early, Royal Mail has released their last postal dates before Christmas in advance and especially for 2020, they've also come up with a creative way to make sure people don't forget them.

Four postboxes, one in each of the UK nations, have been installed by Royal Mail. they each contain a QR code linking to a special message from Santa to spread some seasonal cheer and remind everyone that posting letters, cards and parcels earlier this year is essential.

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Festively decorated, they're sure to serve as a reminder to finally post that package or write those long-forgotten Christmas cards (opens in new tab)!

These are all the internal UK and internal last posting dates before Christmas 2020....

UK last posting dates for Christmas 2020

  • UK 2nd Class and 2nd Class Signed for - Friday December 18 2020
  • 1st Class and 1st Class Signed For and Royal Mail Tracked 48hrs - Monday December 21 2020
  • Royal Mail Tracked 24 - Tuesday December 22
  • Special Delivery Guaranteed - Wednesday 23 December

HM Forces mail - (BFPO) Christmas posting dates 2020

International Standard to static HM Forces Mail - Friday December 14.

For more specific guidance over the last date to send Christmas post to HM Forces, see the guidelines on the government's website (opens in new tab).

International Economy last posting dates before Christmas 2020

  • All non-European destinations (except South Africa, Canada, Middle and Far East, USA) - Monday October 5
  • Middle and Far East, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Africa - Monday October 12
  • Canada, Cyprus, Eastern Europe, Greece, Iceland, Malta, Turkey, USA - Monday November 2
  • Western Europe - Monday November 16

International Standard (airmail) and International tracking signature services posting dates before Christmas 2020

  • Australia and New Zealand - Friday December 4 2020
  • Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Central and South America, Far and Middle East - Wednesday December 9 2020
  • Canada, Cyprus, Malta - Thursday December 10 2020
  • Greece, Eastern Europe (except Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia) and Turkey - Friday December 11 2020
  • Czech Republic, Finland, Italy, Poland, Sweden, USA - Saturday December 12 2020
  • Austria, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland - Wednesday December 16 2020
  • Belgium, France, Ireland, Luxembourg - Friday December 18 2020

Credit: Getty

Christmas stamps, featuring all sorts of festive scenes from the Nativity story, are on sale at Post Office branches and on the Royal Mail's website. They include letter and large letter stamps.

67p 1st class letter: For the majority of Christmas cards (under 100g) £1.01 1st class large letter: For large or bulky Christmas cards (under 100g, between these sizes: Length 240-353mm, width 165-250mm, thickness 5-25mm) 58p 2nd class letter: Suitable for the majority of Christmas cards (under 100g) 79p 2nd class large letter: For very large or bulky Christmas cards (under 100g, between these sizes: Length 240-353mm, width 165-250mm, thickness 5-25mm


If you don't know the postcodes of your nearest and dearest, then don't worry - Royal Mail has a handy postcode checker (opens in new tab) online. All you need to do is type in the first line of an address and it'll generate a postcode for you..


To find out your nearest Post Office branch and its opening hours, visit (opens in new tab)

Letters to Santa

Did you know that there is a real address for Santa Claus? Download our FREE letter (opens in new tab) for Santa and let your little ones have a go writing their own letter to Santa.

What postal service should you use?

  • For valuable or last-minute Christmas gifts and cards, Royal Mail's Special Delivery Guaranteed by 1pm next day service is the best and prices start from £6.50.
  • Airsure postal service takes mail from the UK on the first available flight to 35 countries worldwide. It then receives priority handling abroad and items are electronically tracked on their way to their destination. Prices start at £6 plus airmail postage.
  • International ParcelFroce Worldwide means items receive a quick dispatch from the UK. Prices start at £12 plus airmail (or surface) postage and the service is available to most countries worldwide.
  • Visit Royal Mail's 'delivery options' for a full range of Airsure and International Signed-For postal services.
  • Parcelforce Global Express postal service offers fast, international delivery across the world from next working day, and the Scheduled service takes from 3 working days. It's available to 240 countries worldwide, and are both a good choice if you're sending valuable and treasured items abroad.
  • Global priority (to Europe) and Global economy (rest of the World) are cheaper alternatives, and the best options if you're more bothered about cost than speed.
  • For surface mail latest posting dates, which vary depending on the destination, visit (opens in new tab)
  • In the UK, Parcelforce 48 delivers within 2 working days, Parcelforce 24 is for next working day delivery, and there are three premium-rate time-guaranteed services: by 9am, by 10am and by noon. Prices vary according to weight
  • Check on (opens in new tab) for updates on specific countries, to download postal service prices and for full information about services.

So with post offices confirmed to be open this lockdown and the last postal dates before Christmas confirmed, get sending now!

How much is a first class stamp?

Right now, a first class stamp costs 76p. From January 1 2021, however, the cost of a first class stamp will rise by 14p to 85p as part of the biggest cost increase since 2012.

The big change comes in next year as the second cost increase on all stamps in just a year, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Royal Mail defended the rising cost of stamps, saying that the additional protective equipment, paying staff for overtime and additional agency workers for when full-time staff had to self-isolate was the cause.

They also added that over lockdown, the number of letters being sent fell significantly.

How much is a second class stamp?

At the moment, a second class stamp is 65p but next year, the price hike will only make the second class stamp 1p more expensive.

In response to the confusion over the increase in stamp prices, chief commercial officer at Royal Mail, Nick Landon said, "Like other companies, 2020 has been a challenging year for Royal Mail. Our people have worked tirelessly to keep the UK connected throughout the pandemic and associated restrictions.

"These price increases will help us continue to deliver and sustain the universal service in challenging circumstances."

Sibelle Mehmet
Sibelle Mehmet

Sibelle Mehmet is a Junior Digital Writer at She joined the team in April 2019 and was her first job since completing a MA in Magazine Journalism at City, the University of London in the summer of 2019. Sibelle previously interned at a number of national titles including OK!, Heat, Closer, Mother & Baby, and The Times Newspaper magazine. She's written extensively about the latest celebrity, showbiz, and royal news.