Sending post in Germany before Christmas? Here's what you need to know
It's not just Santa and Christkind who need to deliver parcels at Christmas. If you want to make sure your package arrives on time, here's here's how to navigate the German postal service.
Many of us have friends and family living elsewhere in Germany or in another country. So if you're thinking of making their day by sending a Christmas card or gift, here are a few things to think about.
There's A LOT more post
Deutsche Post alone processes five million parcels on a normal working day. And during the Christmas season there are considerably more.
According to a company spokesman, Deutsche Post expects up to eleven million parcels a day at the peak of the holiday season.
More than 10,000 additional workers were hired nationwide for this purpose, while there are 12,000 extra drivers on the road.
At Hermes, the Christmas business began in October, according to the company. An additional 6,500 people were hired nationwide.
Below is a guide to the deadlines for posting mail before Christmas. However, always ask in your local post office if you have specific questions regarding a package or letter.
Deutsche Post and DHL
Germany's largest mail service is extra busy at this time of year so be aware that you might have to wait in line longer when you visit the post office.
Christmas cards, letters and postcards being sent within Germany need to be sent by 10am on December 21st if you want them to reach their destination by December 24th. For parcels, the deadline is earlier: they should be posted by 6pm on December 20th.
For EU countries, the deadline for sending packages is December 14th, and for countries further afield in Europe, the deadline has passed: it was December 10th. For packages heading outside of Europe the deadline has also gone by.
If you're sending letters to other countries in Europe, you need to get them in the post before the last pick-up on December 16th, and for worldwide deliveries, sadly the delivery deadline has already passed – it was December 11th.
READ ALSO: Postage costs set to spike in Germany
The delivery deadlines for Christmas mail at DPD are as follows:
"We recommend sending Christmas presents as standard parcels by December 20th at the latest. As a rule of thumb it is advisable to send parcels by 12 noon in one of our 6,500 parcel shops," DPD spokesman Sebastian Zeh told T Online.
For express packages within Germany there's a bit more time. They will still arrive punctually, if they are posted before Monday, 23rd December, 12noon. "Delivery staff are still on the road until lunchtime on Christmas Eve," said Zeh. "But at that time only priority and express parcels are delivered."
For international parcels, the deadline is December 18th. However, you can check on individual destinations using DPD’s delivery calculator.
The company added that customers no longer need to print out a parcel label.
Instead, customers can create a digital parcel label online, pay directly and then show it on their smartphone in the parcel shop when they hand it in. "A particular advantage for customers is the fact that parcels paid for online can be handed in at a lower price than if they were paid in the parcel shop," said Zeh.
Christmas parcels being sent within Germany can be delivered to Hermes parcel shops until December 20th, 12noon. The deadline for sending parcels abroad is December 15th.
UPS and GLS
Parcels without an express option should be posted by December 20th, 12 noon at the latest in order to be delivered within Germany by Christmas Eve.
With the express option, the parcel can also be delivered on December 21st. If you want to be absolutely sure during the pre-Christmas period, you should hand over your parcel by December 15th, or choose an express option with a time window.
For neighbouring countries the cut-off date is December 19th, and for countries outside of the EU it's December 18th.
Anything else that's helpful to know?
- To ensure that parcels arrive safely, customers are advised to secure parcels and make sure the address is correct and visible.
- Don't forget to remove any old barcodes from previous packages
- Most post offices in Germany will be open on Christmas Eve and December 31st until 12noon if you need to pick anything up or send anything on these days.