All the Essential Christmas Dates for Your Diary - updated for 2022!

Whether you're in the Christmas zone yet or not, here are all the important dates you need to know.  

We've covered the UK supermarket delivery dates, last post dates, when to shop, and more.

To make sure you're organised, get them marked in your diary and circled on your calendar today.

Key Christmas Dates for Your Calendar

9th November on - City lights

Cities will be holding their Christmas lights switch-ons from 9th November onwards.

Check local press or online for details of your closest switch on events.

25-26th November - Switch-on Saturday (and Friday)

Most smaller towns and villages will be having their switch on this Friday or Saturday.

Although, some are waiting until the next weekend for theirs.

Look out for local event listings or search online for details of what's going on near you.

20th November - Stir-up Sunday

The traditional day to make your Christmas pudding. Will you make your own this year?

You could also make your own Christmas cake, or if that seems too much, just batch bake some of these easy mince pies to get in the zone!

27th November - First Sunday of Advent

The first of the four Advent Sundays, and the perfect day to go to church if you've been meaning to all year!

Last Posting Dates for Christmas

Most post offices will be open for longer hours from late November on.

Check your 'Something for you' missed delivery card for local details.

Here are the last posting dates for different parts of the world:

28th November - Airmail to Operational HM forces overseas

1st December - Australia and New Zealand

2nd December - China

5th December - Caribbean

5th December - Airmail to Static HM Forces overseas

7th December - Africa, Asia, Central and South America, and the Far and Middle East

8th December - Cyprus and Malta

9th December - Greece, Turkey and Eastern Europe (except Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland)

10th December - Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Sweden, Italy, Poland and USA

12th December - Austria, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland

14th December - Belgium, France and Luxembourg

Last posting dates within the UK:

19th December - last day for 2nd class post

21st December - last day for 1st class post and Royal Mail Tracked 48

22nd December - last day for Royal Mail Tracked 24

23rd December - last day for Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed

Deliveries and collections will be as normal up to and including Christmas Eve and normal service will resume from Wednesday 28th December.

Don't forget to write to Father Christmas - he'll even send a reply!

Santa Claus / Father Christmas
Santa's Grotto

Or in Welsh:

Sion Corn
Ogof Sion Corn
Gwlad Y Ceirw

Supermarket Christmas Delivery Slots

Lots of delivery slots are open now, but the ones closest to Christmas are booking up fast.

Just pop a bottle of Champagne over £25 in your trolley and check out, then you have up to around 24 hours before delivery to amend your order.  (You can always remove the Champagne!)


Christmas delivery slots open for Delivery Pass customers on 18th October, and for all customers on 25th October.

You can buy a delivery pass now to get early access to slots.


You can order up to Christmas Eve for free delivery over £35 but slots will only open up 1-2 weeks before.

Find out more here

Marks & Spencer

Not available for delivery (except through Ocado), but you can order food online for collection.

Get free wine or chocolates if you order before 10th November.


Christmas slots open on 26th October for Delivery Pass customers, date TBC for everyone else.


Customers, especially those with delivery passes, will be invited in waves from early October onwards.

Sign up to their Delivery Pass scheme before 26th September to get early access to slots.


Sainsbury's will likely open slots to Delivery Pass customers from 22nd November, and everyone else from 29th November.


Slots open at 6am on 15th November for Delivery Saver customers; at 6am on 22nd November for everyone else. Find out more here.


Details unclear as yet.

When to Shop for Gifts

15th November - 'Prime Fall' / Amazon deals week

It's not clear yet whether Amazon will be running their usual deals week, although as early as June there were rumours of 'Prime Fall', like another Amazon Prime Day event - watch this space...

25th November - Black Friday

Black Friday has beecome a bigger and bigger tradition in recent years, with retailers offering steep discounts on the day after Thanksgiving, the official start of the holiday season for many.

This year will be a bumper year as businesses seek to make some Christmas profits and consumers look for bargain prices.

With all of us shopping online it's going to be a busy day, so get items in your online shopping baskets now and look for those deals to start rolling in.

Our popular Christmas gift guides are a great place to start!

26th November - Small Business Saturday

Capitalism with conscience, why not support your local high street on Small Business Saturday when lots of local shops will be offering discounts and special offers, and hosting special events.

You may even be offered a complimentary mince pie or glass of mulled wine...

Online, head to marketplaces like Etsy for some gorgeous and unique gifts from small businesses.

28th November - Cyber Monday

Having heard the tills ringing on Friday, the major retailers will be upping the ante further online today, with many amazing deals going live from 00.01am.

Many sites also release new deals every hour, so sign up to your favourite stores' e-mailing lists now, or keep a keen eye on them during the day.

The only problem is many of us have to work, so if you can get online during working hours you'll be at an advantage.

Just make sure with all the super sale frenzy that these are things you actually want/need. It's all too easy to get carried away.

29th November - Giving Tuesday

Fed up with the commercial frenzy?  Donate your time, skills, money or resources to charity today.  

Find out more at

17th-21st December - Last Orders!

Last order dates for most retailers (some may have later dates if you are willing to pay extra for delivery):

Amazon                            23rd December - sign up for Prime to get free delivery

Argos                                24th December

Boden                               19th December

Boots                                19th December

Cadbury Gifts Direct     19th December

Currys PC World           19th December

Emma Bridgewater        11th December

Hamleys                           18th December

Interflora                          24th December

John Lewis                       19th December

Marks & Spencer            17th December

Paperchase                       16th December

Thorntons                        19th December
Waterstones                     20th December

23rd December - The Big Supermarket Shop

The busiest supermarket shopping day of the year, with mid-morning being the quieter time.

Check our Ultimate Christmas Shopping List so you don't forget anything.

3.30pm is the last order time for Amazon Prime next day deliveries for all those last-minute gifts!

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