Gift-giving season is here, and if you’re sending items across the country – or around the world – knowing exactly what the last Christmas post dates are will save you a lot of hassle.
Whether it’s one of the top Christmas toys for a little one in your life or sending letters to Santa from your own kids, posting items this time of year takes top-class organisation to make sure you don’t miss the cut-off dates.
We know there’s a lot to do at this time of year, but don’t worry – help is on hand to bring the important dates for sending items in the post straight to you. The last Christmas post dates will vary based on the postal service and location, so here’s a breakdown of what you should mark on your calendar.
Last Christmas post dates for 2023
Royal Mail has confirmed that the last Christmas post date for sending parcels or letters is Friday 22 December, via its Special Delivery Guaranteed Service.
With that in mind, Royal Mail is encouraging those sending letters or gifts to allow plenty of time for posting to compensate for any delays throughout the festive period. It also recommends that your items are wrapped to avoid damage, clearly addressed and checking the size and weight of your item before you post it.
As for anything posted after these dates, Royal Mail cannot guarantee that these will arrive in time for Christmas. Post collection times can vary, so if you want to find out exactly when the last post collection is near you, you can use Royal Mail’s branch finder.
Here are our Latest Recommended Posting Dates for UK and International services this Christmas 🎁 🎄 🎅 Visit: https://t.co/maQdOme98a for more info. pic.twitter.com/UISUNPgtMINovember 27, 2023
Last Christmas posting dates UK
- Monday 18 December: 2nd Class, 2nd Class Signed For and Royal Mail Tracked 48
- Wednesday 20 December: 1st Class, 1st Class Signed For and Royal Mail Tracked 24
- Thursday 21 December: Special Delivery Guaranteed
- Friday 22 December: Special Delivery Guaranteed and Guaranteed Saturday Delivery for an extra fee
International post dates 2023
A lot of the international last Christmas post dates have already passed, but if you are still hoping to send a package from the UK in time then Parcelforce Worldwide: International globalvalue is operating the following services with these cut-off dates:
- Friday 8 December: Europe (excluding Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece)
- Saturday 9 December: Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece
- Monday 11 December: Republic of Ireland, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Germany and Denmark
- Monday 11 December: USA, Canada and Europe (excluding Italy, Spain and Portugal)
- Tuesday 12 December: Italy, Spain and Portugal
- Wednesday 13 December: France
- Thursday 14 December: Republic of Ireland, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Denmark and Greece
Parcelforce also offers a globalexpress service and prices start at £43.50. Here are the dates and destinations to know:
- Monday 11 December: Rest of the world (unless listed below)
- Tuesday 12 December: Far East and Australiasia
- Thursday 14 December: Europe (excluding Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece)
- Monday 18 December: Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece
- Tuesday 19 December: USA, Canada, Republic of Ireland, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Germany and Denmark
For customers in Northern Ireland, the irelandexpress service cut-off date is Tuesday 19 December for Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland.
As Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday this year, Parcel Force recommends you send parcels for delivery in the UK by Thursday 21 December 2023 for next day services and Wednesday 20 December 2023 for two-day services to ensure they’re delivered in time for the 25th.
Is it too late to post Christmas cards?
It’s definitely not too late to post Christmas cards, but with recent postal strikes affecting delivery times, it’s best to get them sent off as soon as you’re able to.
Royal Mail has stated that you should send second-class post on or before 18 December and first-class on or before 19 December if you’re sending something with a UK destination.
What to do if you miss the last post date before Christmas
If you’re worrying that you might not make the cut-off in time, you could consider Parcelforce Worldwide’s UK express delivery service via Royal Mail. Its express48 service deadline day is 21 December with its express10, expressAM and express24 services cut-off date the following day (22 December).
This service will set you back a little more money though, with Parcelforce Worldwide express48 starting from £8.85 and express24 starting from £9.35. You should also note that express48large is only available at certain Post Office branches. Find more details about prices and the service via the Parcelforce website.
What to do if you miss the last post date before Christmas:
If you're worrying that you might not make the cut-off in time you could consider Parcelforce Worldwide's UK express delivery service via Royal Mail. Their express48 service deadline day is December 21 with their express10, expressAM and express24 service cut-off dates being December 22.
This service will set you back a little more money though, with Parcelforce Worldwide express48 starting from £8.85 and express24 starting from £9.35. Please also note that express48large is only available at certain Post Office branches. Find more details about prices and the service via the Parcelforce website.
If you don't know the postcodes of your nearest and dearest, then don't worry - Royal Mail has a handy postcode checker online. All you need to do is type in the first line of an address and it'll generate a postcode for you.
And finally to find out your nearest Post Office branch and its opening hours, visit postoffice.co.uk.
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Emily Stedman is the former Features Editor for GoodTo covering all things TV, entertainment, royal, lifestyle, health and wellbeing. Boasting an encyclopaedic knowledge on all things TV, celebrity and royals, career highlights include working at HELLO! Magazine and as a royal researcher to Diana biographer Andrew Morton on his book Meghan: A Hollywood Princess. In her spare time, Emily can be found eating her way around London, swimming at her local Lido or curled up on the sofa binging the next best Netflix show.
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