When is the final date for posting Christmas presents in 2013?

With many people having family and friends scattered around the country, or even the world, it is important to know when is the latest possible date to send Christmas presents.
Of course, it is best to send them as soon as you can; however, if you happen to forget and need to send a last minute gift, you will want to know whether the presents will get to your loved ones in time for the big day.


Those who are sending gifts or cards to family around the UK can of course afford to leave it a little later with their post than people sending items abroad. The last date for those sending items by 2nd class mail is Wednesday December 18, whereas those sending by 1st class mail have two extra days (Friday December 20). If you are really strapped for time, then a special delivery service is also available up until Monday December 23.

International airmail

The main deadlines for sending international post by airmail are between November 29 and December 14, depending on the area you are planning to send to.
This first date of November 29th is for anyone hoping to send cards or gifts to those in the British Forces. It has to be sent by this date to guarantee it reaching the British Forces Post Office (BFPO).
Those sending festive mail or gifts to anyone in New Zealand, Asia and the Far East (including Japan) also need to make sure they send it early, with a final date of Wednesday December 4. Meanwhile, Australia is a day later on Thursday December 5. Meanwhile, Central and South America, the Caribbean, Africa and the Middle East all have a Friday December 6 final deadline.
There are a number of countries for which you will have to send mail by the middle of the month so that it gets there by Christmas. These include Canada, France, Greece and Poland (Tuesday December 10), as well as the USA (Friday December 13). The last possible place that you will be able to send mail internationally is Western Europe (not including France, Poland and Greece), with a final date of Saturday December 14.

Courier services

The dates above are the official estimates from the Royal Mail. However, there are also many alternative courier services which people may want to use to send out presents to family and friends. Couriers may have different ending dates for sending gifts to the UK and abroad, so it is best to get in touch if you are unsure.

Don't leave it too late!

Remember, these are just recommended times for the latest possible date to send gifts or cards for Christmas. If you can do it before this time, then try do so, to make sure that your loved ones get their presents in time and can enjoy them over the festive period. This is because high volumes of parcels and cards being sent over the Christmas period can cause delays. Bad weather conditions can also contribute to this - don't let this ruin your Christmas goodwill messages! 

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Please note if you do not select the “signature required” delivery option, UKMail will not be liable should your items be subsequently lost or damaged after the delivery (see clause 11.7 of the Terms & Conditions). *We define a “Parcel” as a package with dimensions up to 80cm x 80cm x 80cm and a weight of up to 25kg.

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