All the Essential Christmas Dates for Your Diary - updated for 2021!

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

2nd November on - City lights

Cities will be holding their Christmas lights switch-ons from 2nd November onwards.

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

26-27th 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.

21st 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!

28th 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:

29th November - Airmail to Operational HM forces overseas

1st December - Caribbean

6th December - Australia and New Zealand

6th December - Airmail to Static HM Forces overseas

8th December - Africa, Asia, Central and South America, and the Far and Middle East

10th December - Cyprus and Malta

11th December - Greece, Turkey and Eastern Europe (except Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland)

13th December - Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Sweden, Italy, Poland and USA

16th December - Austria, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland

18th December - Belgium, France and Luxembourg

Last posting dates within the UK:

18th 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 29th 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!)


Not confirmed yet, but hopefully we can update you soon!


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

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 6th November for Delivery Pass customers, 27th November for everyone else.


Apparently already sold out!


Not confirmed yet, but probably opening up 3-4 weeks before.


Slots open at 6am on 16th November for Delivery Saver customers; at 6am on 23rd November for everyone else. Find out more here.


Open now but only to some customers.

When to Shop

15th November - Amazon deals week

It's ntot clear yet whether Amazon will be running their usual deals week.

26th November - Black Friday

This year will be a bumper year as businesses seek to make some Christmas profits.

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!

27th November - Civilised Saturday

Launched by bookshops a few years ago 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?

28th November - 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!)

29th 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.

30th November - Giving Tuesday

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

Find out more at

4th December - 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...

6th December - Manic Monday

(Just another) Manic Monday.

This is 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 Orders!

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

Amazon                            20th December
Boden                               20th December
Boots                                17th December
Cadbury Gifts Direct     22nd December
Currys PC World           22nd December
Emma Bridgewater        11th December
Hamleys                           17th December
Interflora                         24th December
Marks & Spencer            22nd December
Ted Baker                        16th December
TopShop / TopMan         15th December        
Waterstones                     17th 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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