Last posting dates for Christmas 2023: the key dates not to miss

Making sure you remember to post those Christmas cards and parcels in time for the big day can be tricky, especially if family and friends are scattered across the world. Here’s what you need to know about last posting dates for Christmas.

Every year, Royal Mail publishes a list of the ‘latest recommended posting dates for Christmas delivery’ for both the UK and abroad. However, these dates can be subject to change and there is still no automatic guarantee that your post will arrive in time. So the sooner you do it, the better

If you want a ‘guaranteed’ service, you’ll need to pay more. But you can get your money back if items don’t arrive on time.

It’s also worth familiarising yourself with our list of the Top Royal Mail scams to avoid, to ensure you don’t fall victim to scammers. 

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Last posting dates for Christmas 2023

Here are those all-important dates you need to know and can still make, when it comes to getting items in the post for Christmas.

Date Delivery
Monday 18 December 2nd Class across the UK. 2nd Class Signed For across the UK. Royal Mail Tracked 48.
Wednesday 20 December 1st Class across the UK. 1st Class Signed For across the UK. Royal Mail Tracked 24.
Thursday 21 December Special Delivery Guaranteed (guaranteed UK next day delivery). Parcelforce express24 and expressAM (guaranteed next working day delivery on weekdays). With expressam – you can choose from next day delivery by 9am,10am or midday. With express24 – delivery is by close of business on the next working day.
Friday 22 December Special Delivery Guaranteed - Guaranteed Saturday delivery across UK for an extra fee

Here are the Christmas posting dates for 2023 that have already passed. 

Date Delivery
Friday 24 November International Economy to Cyprus, Eastern Europe, Greece, Iceland, Malta, Turkey
Monday 27 November International Economy to Western Europe HM Forces Mail - British Forces Post Office (BFPO) – Operational HM Forces
Friday 1 December International Standard and International Tracked & Signature Services to Australia and New Zealand
Monday 4 December International Standard (Untracked) to Africa, Central and South America, Asia, Australia, Caribbean, China (People’s Republic), Far and Middle East, New Zealand. HM Forces Mail - British Forces Post Office (BFPO) - Static HM Forces
Tuesday 5 December International Standard (Untracked) to Cyprus, Malta, Spain and Portugal
Wednesday 6 December International Standard (Untracked) to Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Eastern Europe, (except Czech Republic and Poland), France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia, Switzerland, Turkey. International Tracking and Signature services to Africa, Central and South America, Asia, Australia, Bulgaria, Caribbean, China, (People’s Republic), Far and Middle East, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal and Spain.
Thursday 7 December International Standard (Untracked) to Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Italy, Poland, Sweden and USA. International Tracking and Signature services to Cyprus and Malta.
Friday 8 December International Tracking and Signature services to Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Eastern Europe, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, USA

Last day to send parcels within the UK using courier services

If you’re sending parcels across the UK, you could save money by using parcel delivery comparison services such as Parcel2Go and ParcelMonkey.

These sites compare prices for couriers including Evri, Yodel, DPD, FedEx, DHL, UPS and ParcelForce.

Depending on the service you use, you can expect to send parcels within the UK up until 21 December to get there in time for Christmas.

You can find a full list of last posting dates depending on where you’re sending your parcel along with the service you choose on both Parcel2Go and ParcelMonkey.   

Your rights if letters or parcels go missing

If items go missing, as a general rule, you will usually have to wait between five and 10 working days before you can report the item as missing with Royal Mail. This does not include weekends or public holidays. 

You should claim for lost, damaged or delayed post by filling in a P58 form which you can get from Post Office branches. You may then be due compensation depending on the service you paid for. 

However, this is unlikely to be much, for example, if a first or second-class letter goes astray, you could get a book of six first-class stamps as compensation. 

That said, if you pay for a premium service, such as Special Delivery, and the item goes astray, you may get your postage fee refunded along with compensation to cover the actual cost of the item posted. 

This includes compensation cover up to £750. You can pay more for additional compensation of up to £2,500 and also buy ‘consequential loss cover’ at the time of postage which covers up to £10,000.

When it comes to the maximum time limit, you should report any missing letters or parcels to the Royal Mail within 80 calendar days from date of posting.

If you buy something and your parcel is late, you should always contact the company you bought the item from, not Royal Mail or the courier company.

This is because under consumer law, it’s the seller’s responsibility to get the item to you within the agreed time and in one piece.  If there’s any problem, it’s the retailer who should reimburse you.