Essential Christmas Dates - Get Them in Your Diary Now

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

7th November on - City lights

Cities will be holding their Christmas lights switch ons from 7th November on.  Check local press or online for details of your closest switch on events.

22nd-23rd 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.

24th 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!

1st December - 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.

2nd November  - last day for Royal Mail International Economy to Eastern Europe, Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, Malta and Iceland

16th November - last day for Royal Mail International Economy to Western Europe

25th November - last day for posting Airmail to Operational HM forces overseas

9th December - last day for posting to Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Central and South America, and the Far and Middle East

10th December - last day for posting to Cyprus and Malta

12th December - last day to Eastern Europe, except Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland

12th December - last day to Greece, Turkey, Australia and New Zealand

13th December - last day for posting Airmail to Static HM Forces overseas

14th December - last day to USA, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Sweden, Italy and Poland

16th December - last day to Austria, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland

17th December - last day for Parcelforce Worldwide International globalexpress worldwide

18th December - last day for 2nd class posting in the UK, and to Ireland, Belgium, France and Luxembourg

19th December - last day for Parcelforce Worldwide International to Ireland

20th December - last day for 1st class posting and Royal Mail Tracked48

21st 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 on Monday 23rd December then Saturday deliveries on Christmas Eve.  Normal service will then resume from Friday 27th December.

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 slots open on 13th November for Delivery Pass customers, 18th November for everyone else.

Marks & Spencer

Not available for delivery (yet!), but you can order food online for collection.  Get free wine or chocolates if you order before 10th November.


Christmas slots open on 4th November for Delivery Pass customers, 25th November for everyone else.


Opens at least 3 weeks before, but usually much earlier.


Based on last year's information, slots open on 23rd November for Delivery Pass customers, on 30th November for everyone else.


Slots open from 30th November on.  Find out more here.


Open now.  Waitrose Entertaining items can be ordered in advance and collected in store up until Christmas Eve afternoon.

When to Shop

15th November - Amazon deals week

Like last year, Amazon deals will be launching a whole week of discounts, updated daily.  It's also worth popping the things you want in your basket early on (now!) and seeing how the prices come down as the deals come in.

29th November - Black Friday

It wasn't as manic last year, thank goodness, but there will still be plenty of bargains to be had if you hit the High Street and the big supermarkets today.  Avoid the crowds by seeing what bargains come up online over the busiest shopping weekend of the year.

30th November - Civilised Saturday

Launched by bookshops last year as an antidote to the Black Friday mayhem, there will be events, deals and discounts nationwide, including free bubbly and hand massages.  What could be better than browsing a book shop on a chilly autumn day?

30th 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...  Find out more at

1st December - Sofa Sunday

Sofa Sunday will see many of us slumped over laptops, tablets and phones on the sofa, made-for-TV Christmas movies murmuring in the background.  It's the biggest online shopping day of the year, with the most purchases being made 9-11pm.  Will you be one of the spenders?  Get your loungewear ready now!  (Alternatively, head to the real shops while everyone else is at home!)

2nd December - 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.

3rd December - Giving Tuesday

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

9th December - Manic Monday

(Just another) Manic Monday, another key day for those big deals as the retailers assess how much stock needs to go over the next couple of weeks.  Grab a bargain!

17th-21st December

Last order dates for most retailers.  Find out more here.

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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