The last-minute Christmas delivery deadline dates

3 December 2011

Christmas is fast approaching and the deadlines for sending off cards and presents in the post are now upon us so if you want to make sure your loved ones receive their Christmas goodies in time read on to find out the deadlines.

If you've got a mountain of cards to post pay particular attention to the second class deadline, which is 18 December, and save a tidy sum on stamp costs. Buying four books of 12 Christmas stamps would cost  £24 second class (£6 for 12) compared with £28.80 first class (£7.20 for 12). 

The deadline for standard parcels is 13 December but you can still send your parcels after that date as long as you use a special delivery, known as Parcelforce, which will ensure they arrive on time. Meet the Parcelforce express 48 deadline (see below) for a cheaper final postal bill too. Prices start from £11.60 for parcelforce express 48 compared with £15.60 for express 24. 

Postal deadlines

Tuesday 18 December

Second class and recorded delivery

Thursday 20 December

First class and recorded delivery

Parcelforce express 48

Friday 21 December

Parcelforce express 24

Special delivery with Saturday guarantee

Saturday 23 December

 Special delivery

Ordering presents online takes out all the stress of huffing and puffing at the shops - and there are often online discounts to take advantage of too. But there is also the worry that your orders won't reach you before Christmas. Below is a list of the last order dates - and times for some of the main retailers.

Tuesday 18 December
14:30 Boots last next-day delivery
19:00 John Lewis last delivery day for large furniture or appliances
23:59 standard delivery
23:59 Marks and Spencer's last deilvery for Christmas Hampers
23:59 Kurt Geiger last standard delivery
23:59 Matalan last standard delivery

Wednesday 19 December
00:00 Accessorize last standard delivery
11:00 The Body Shop last express delivery
12:00 BHS last standard delivery
21:00 Next last Northern Ireland courier
23:59 Marks and Spencer standard delivery
23:59 Apple last standard delivery
23:59 Amazon last Super Saver delivery

Thursday 20 December 
10:30 Thorntons last standard delivery
11:00 last standard delivery
12:00 Debenhams last general orders
13:00 last free first class delivery
13:00 Argos last standard delivery on small items
14:00 Accessorize last next day delivery
19:00 House of Fraser last next day delivery
23.59 Amazon last first class delivery
23:59 BBC Shop standard delivery
23:59 GAP and Banana Republic last free standard delivery

Friday 21 December
11:00 last express delivery 
12:00 Next last delivery on flowers and plants
12:00 BHS last express delivery
16:00 ToysRus last Saturday delivery
17:00 George at ASDA, last orders for collection
18:00 JD Sports last standard delivery
19:00 John Lewis last standard delivery
19:00 Marks and Spencer last nominated day delivery
21:00 Next last courier delivery excluding Northern Ireland

Saturday 22 December
14:30 Hotel Chocolat last orders

Sunday 23 December
11:00 Amazon last express delivery
14:00 ASOS last next working day delivery

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