Top Tips for Sending your Presents this Christmas

If you've managed to complete all your Christmas shopping so far, hats off to you! Organising your Christmas is incredibly stressful, whether your family is just you and a partner or you've got kids with more on the way. When friends and family live further afield, your Christmas shopping involves a lot of extra admin work, so be sure to be prepared as early as you can. If you’re not sure about the rules, regulations, and deadlines - we've got a rough guide to help out.

Sending Food

If you've got a foodie family or simply know somebody who would really benefit from a lovely food hamper, check the Royal Mail rules. As a general rule, don’t send anything that will expire in transit - this includes fresh fruit and vegetables. Packaged goods like biscuits, cakes, chocolates, conserves or jams should be kept in their original packaging and have at least 6 months until the expiration date on them - so you can still send proper tea to relatives across the globe. For UK delivery you may be able to get away with posting some packaged dairy products like cheese or small alcohol hampers, but this is expensive and difficult to post abroad due to customs laws.

Gifts and HM Customs

Sending non-edible gifts abroad, however, is fairly simple! Simply package everything in boxes or jiffy bags, securely closing them, and be sure to complete a customs declaration form on the packaging to minimise delays and additional costs. Try to keep it simple as well - keep it under £40 or the recipient will have to pay VAT, and this cost can rise to over £100 outside the EU.

Kids will love receiving their parcels straight from the North Pole!
Image courtesy of Cool Mom Picks

Wrapping and Logistics

Keep in mind the logistics of postage when doing your Christmas shopping. Royal Mail has rules on how much postage costs for different sizes of parcel both at home and internationally, so think carefully when you’re boxing up. That said, if you’re wanting to send a big surprise to relatives, or a gift won’t quite fit through the letterbox – large or unusual sized boxes containing bikes or musical instruments, for instance, you’re best off going with a courier like TNT Direct. They’ll help you insure the gift to protect its value, and can also make sure it reaches your recipient’s doorstep in a timely manner specified by you.

Postage Deadlines

Finally, when you want your gifts to arrive in time for Christmas, plan ahead to ensure they do. Unless you are using an international courier service, Royal Mail’s last days to post internationally to arrive in time for Christmas are spaced along this week, with the last parcels to Western Europe and Scandinavia off on Friday 18th December. For sending within the UK, you've got until the 23rd December to get any last bits off via Special Delivery.

Image Courtesy of Country Living

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