Christmas post 2020: everything you need to know

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Christmas post hand posting mail

From mailing costs and last posting dates to COVID safety information and the best Christmas cards, stay informed with our round-up

2020 has been anything but normal. And with Christmas fast approaching, we’re all keen to inject some positivity and vitality back into our lives.

Even if we have to stay apart from our loved ones this festive season, we can ensure that goodwill reaches them in the form of a thoughtful card or gift. 

But what are the guidelines and restrictions on posting items to friends and family in the age of COVID? What is the last Christmas posting date? And what are you physically allowed to share via the post?

All this essential information, and more, is contained in our Boundless 2020 Christmas posting guide. Scroll down for all the details. 

When will I need to send my Christmas post by to ensure it arrives in time for the big day?

Christmas post woman sorting office

Please note: there is likely to be an increased demand for parcels across all of the following services.

Royal Mail

The Royal Mail’s last Christmas posting dates in 2020 are as follows:

• Friday 18 December – 2nd Class and 2nd Class Signed For

• Monday 21 December – 1st Class & 1st Class Signed For, and Royal Mail Tracked 48

• Tuesday 22 December – Royal Mail Tracked 24

• Wednesday 23 December – Special Delivery Guaranteed


DHL’s last Christmas delivery dates in 2020 are as follows:

• Monday 21 December – delivery and collection available

• Tuesday 22 December – delivery and collection available

• Wednesday 23 December – delivery and collection available

• Thursday 24 December – delivery and collection available


Hermes’ last Christmas posting dates in 2020 are as follows:

• Saturday 19 December – final date for courier collection for delivery

• Monday 21 December (noon) – final date for customers sending gifts via Hermes’ Parcelshop standard delivery service

• Tuesday 22 December (noon) – final date for customers sending gifts via Hermes’ Parcelshop next day delivery service 


DPD’s last Christmas posting dates in 2020 are as follows:

• Friday 18 December – normal service

• Saturday 19 December – normal service

• Sunday 20 December – normal service

• Monday 21 December – normal service

• Tuesday 22 December – normal service

• Wednesday 23 December – normal service

• Thursday 24 December – normal service

How much will it cost to send Christmas post this year? 

The cost of Christmas post will vary depending on the specific service and size of the item.

Royal Mail

• Royal Mail posting prices start at £3.10 for a small 2nd Class parcel weighing 1kg, going up to £3.70 for a small 1st Class parcel weighing 1kg.

• Royal Mail posting prices start at £3.10 for a small 2nd Class parcel weighing 2kg, going up to £5.57 for a small 1st Class parcel weighing 2kg.

• Royal Mail posting prices start at £5.20 for a medium 2nd Class parcel weighing 1kg, going up to £5.90 for a medium 1st Class parcel weighing 1kg.

• Royal Mail posting prices start at £5.20 for a medium 2nd Class parcel weighing 2kg, going up to £9.02 for a medium 1st Class parcel weighing 2kg.

• The maximum size of a Royal Mail medium parcel is 20kg, priced at £28.55 for 2nd Class delivery and £33.40 for 1st Class delivery

Want to skip the queues? It’s understandable at the moment. As of October 2020, Royal Mail has launched a 72p parcel pick-up service. The service operates six days a week, allowing your local postman or postwoman to collect up to five parcels (maximum) from your front door or designated safe space. 

The charge for using the service is 72p per parcel, plus postage costs. More information can be found on Royal Mail’s website or via the app.


• Prices range from £2.45 for parcels under 1kg to £9.20 for parcels between 10-15kg

• Prices quoted are for standard delivery with free tracking

• Price includes £20 free parcel cover (excludes postable parcels)


• 2 day shop to shop delivery from £3.99 (excluding VAT; £4.79 including VAT)

• Door to door next day delivery from £8.99 (excluding VAT; £10.79 including VAT)


• Price for extra small next day parcel delivery is £2 (up to 2kg)

• Price for extra extra large next day parcel delivery is £10.42 (up to 25kg)

• Delivery to Northern Ireland, The Highlands, Islands and parts of Scotland operate on a 1-3 day delivery service

What are the guidelines on sending post overseas this Christmas?

Christmas post posting card

For information regarding overseas postage and deliveries, visit the dedicated web pages published by the Royal MailDPDDHL and Hermes

Is there anything I'm not allowed to send in the post?

Christmas post items that aren’t deemed safe comprise the following:

Royal Mail

• There are various restrictions on items sent via the Royal Mail, ranging from aerosols to Christmas crackers and weapons

• Flammable solids and flammable liquids are prohibited

• Vaccines are prohibited except when sent by a qualified medical practitioner

• A full list can be found on the Royal Mail website


• Hermes does not permit delivery of the following: batteries, explosives, fragrances, aerosols, liquids, firearms, sharp instruments, solvent-based paint and inks and white goods


• Aerosols and batteries are among the items not accepted for delivery via DHL

• Alcohol, cigarettes and narcotics, plus hazardous and/or flammable/explosive substances, are also prohibited

• Animal and plant matter is prohibited

• A full list can be found on the DHL website


• Various items are prohibited via DPD delivery including aerosols, alcohol, ammunition, cash, glass, knives, liquids, oils and weapons

• A full list can be found on the DPD website

Are there any safety issues around handling Christmas post in this age of COVID-19?

Christmas post man delivering parcels to house

Reuters states: “The World Health Organization (WHO) has cited laboratory research that found the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 could persist for up to 24 hours on cardboard and 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel.”

The information quoted dates from June 2020. However, given the ongoing COVID-19 situation, those using delivery services and couriers are urged to follow safety guidelines, including regular hand washing and social distancing. People are also urged to follow the guidelines set down by each specific delivery service. These are listed as follows:

Royal Mail

In order to ensure social distancing, Royal Mail delivery drivers are currently not requiring signatures on electronic devices, instead logging the name of the customer and signing on their behalf.

• Items too big to fit through a letterbox will be left at the door, with the customer then contacted and the driver moving back to a safe distance to ensure secure delivery

• Customers unable to come to the door will be left with a Something for You card, advising them to stay home and have the item redelivered for free

• Customers are advised to only use a local Customer Service Point when absolutely necessary

• Presentation of relevant ID and the delivery card will be required at any and all Customer Service Points


• DPD advises those who are self-isolating to leave a note attached to their front door, which will allow the delivery driver to take a photo of the note, along with a photo of where the parcel has been left as proof of delivery


• DHL states that its delivery drivers will sign for deliveries themselves in order to maintain social distancing

• Shipments will be signed for in front of the recipient with the driving maintaining safe distance at all times


• Customers are encouraged to download the Hermes app and establish a designated safe place for deliveries

• If a safe space hasn’t been pre-selected, but a safe area is available, the delivery will be placed there and the driver will take a photo as proof of delivery

• If a signature is required, the driver will knock at the customer’s door, step back to ensure social distancing and take a photo of the item in the doorway as proof of delivery

Our pick of the best charity Christmas cards you can buy this year

One of our Boundless Foundation supported charities, Guide Dogs has a range of gorgeous Christmas cards for canine lovers. This adorable design, depicting a Jack Russell hugging a brown collie in a snowy field, is sure to melt hearts. £4.50 for a pack of ten cards with envelopes (save 25% when you buy five packs).

Christmas post two dogs hugging snow

Motorhome enthusiasts will love this Christmas card design – one of many environmentally friendly cards to be found on the NSPCC website. Why would Santa want a sleigh when he can transport his Christmas tree atop a classic VW camper! £4.25 for a pack of ten cards with envelopes.

Christmas post Santa camper van card

Another of our supported charities, Mind has a huge variety of Christmas cards on its website. We're rather fond of this stylish, painted design, which shows a stag grazing majestically in a wintry field. £3.99 for a pack of ten cards with envelopes.

Christmas post stag in winter card

This delightful hand-finished design, found on the British Heart Foundation website, will take pride of place upon any mantelpiece with its gold-embossed greeting and quaint festive collage. £4.49 for a pack of eight cards with envelopes.

Christmas post rocking around Christmas tree card

Nature again takes centre stage in this eye-popping design from the Macmillan Cancer Support website, which shows two foxes gazing in awe at Santa and his reindeer. Printed on 100% recycled paper and with natural soya inks, it's as conscientious as it is charming. £4.25 for a pack of ten cards with envelopes.

Christmas post foxes forest card

These cards from the Unicef website feature all the traditional symbols we associate with Christmas – reindeer, presents, bells and holly – but wrap them all up in a striking contemporary design that's guaranteed to impress. £6.95 for a pack of ten cards (containing both designs) with envelopes.

Christmas post tree and reindeer card

The Nativity is brought to life with this stunning pop-out card from the Save the Children website, which features die-cut kings and shepherds visiting the baby Jesus in his manger. £3.99 for a pack of ten cards with envelopes. 

Christmas post nativity scene card

If you like Christmas pudding, then you'll love this card design from the Shelter website – it features no fewer than 16 puds, decorated in festive tartan and mistletoe. Even better, proceeds from these environmentally friendly cards will help to support homeless people over the festive season. £3.49 for a pack of ten cards with envelopes.

Christmas post Christmas pudding card

Christmas cards are also available from the following charities: 

• Action Aid

• The Air Ambulance Service

• Alzheimer's Society

• Barnardo's

• Cancer Research

• Diabetes UK

• Dogs Trust

• Marie Curie

• Oxfam


• Sue Ryder

For more help with relaxation and mood-boosting at this time of year, read our Boundless autumn and winter wellness tips.

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