Royal Mail: When is the last UK posting date for Christmas and when is the last posting date for Christmas cards?

The last posting date for Royal Mail depends on the size and type of the package.

Whether you’re travelling to meet friends and family for Christmas, staying at home for a quiet one, or inviting the party to you, you’ll likely be posting out presents and cards to loved ones you might not be seeing.

If you’ve still got a stack of gifts that needs to be sent out, you’ll need to get them out the door soon if they’re to make it in time for Christmas.

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Last year saw major delays as Royal Mail struggled to cope with the surge in post as people had to go into lockdown over the holiday season.

This year, get ahead of the rush by posting your cards and parcels before the final days, so that your loved ones get their gifts on time and before Christmas Day.

Here are when the last UK posting dates with Royal Mail are to have the best chance of getting their before Christmas Day.

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When is the last UK posting date for Christmas?

Royal Mail has given recommended dates to send your last packages and cards in order to avoid disappointment at Christmas. Photo: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

These dates do not guarantee arrival before Christmas Day, but Royal Mail says that these are its recommended dates for the festive period.

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"Allow plenty of time for posting. Please post items and gifts for Christmas early, particularly for International deliveries,” Royal Mail writes on its website. “Ongoing Covid restrictions, reduced air and freight capacity, high volumes and winter weather conditions are all impacting transportation and local delivery across the globe.”

There are different final posting dates, depending on the size and type of the package.

Friday December 17th is the final date for Royal Mail Bulk Mail Economy.

Staff at the Royal Mail sorting office in Sheffield get ready for the Christmas rush, as letters to Santa are sorted before being forwarded to Reindeerland. Photo: Dean Atkins.
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For 2nd Class Post, 2nd Class Signed Post, and Royal Mail 48, you will need to have them in the mail by Saturday December 18th.

1st Class Post, 1st Class Signed Post, Royal Mail 24, and Royal Mail Tracked 48 should be sent on or before Tuesday December 21st Class.

For any last-minute packages, you can use Royal Mail Tracked 24 up until Wednesday December 22nd or Special Delivery Guaranteed services on Thursday December 23rd.

These final dates apply largely to national post.

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For international delivery, Royal Mail recommends leaving even more time than stated above to avoid disappointment.

The same consideration should also be applied to particularly bulky or heavy items, which can take longer to deliver.

When is the last posting date for Christmas cards?

The very last date where you can send Christmas cards is therefore December 23rd, but if you want your recipients to be able to display your card, then it’s wise to get them in the post earlier.

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Traditionally, Christmas cards are usually sent during the first week of December.

This leaves plenty of time for them to arrive, plus a period of time for people to display the cards in their homes for two to three weeks in the run up to Christmas.

Most people tend to take down their Christmas cards at the same time as their decorations, on or before January 5th.