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CHRISTMAS

The dates you should know for sending post in Germany before Christmas

This year more than ever we all want to keep in touch with our loved ones. So if you're sending a letter or parcel from Germany, keep these dates in mind.

The dates you should know for sending post in Germany before Christmas
Christmas wish lists from children in Germany being sorted by Deutsche Post employees. Photo: DPA

It's going to be busier this year

Deutsche Post alone processes five million parcels on a normal working day. And during the Christmas season there are always considerably more: up to eleven million parcels are processed a day at the peak of the holiday season.

But because of the coronavirus pandemic that's keeping loved ones apart, more post is expected this year than ever before. So get your packages or cards sent as early as possible.

What are the deadlines for letters and cards?

If you want to send a Christmas card or a letter within Germany this year, you must post it by December 22nd at the latest.

If the letter is for another European country, your mail must be sent as early as December 16th.

Sadly, the deadline for letters and postcards to arrive in countries outside Europe at Christmas has unfortunately already passed: it was December 7th. It might make it for New Year if you send it now.

READ ALSO: Why parcel delivery price hikes in Germany are set to be reversed

What about parcels and packages?

For larger gifts in parcel form, Deutsche Post subsiduary DHL's deadlines look a little different.

Christmas parcels should arrive on time in Germany if you hand them in at a post office for delivery by 12noon on December 19th.

However, in order for them to be delivered on time to neighbouring countries such as Austria, Switzerland or France, the parcels must be sent as early as December 14th. Or you can opt for premium which makes the deadline December 18th.

For all other European countries, the deadline is December 10th. But with premium shipping you have the option of posting your Christmas parcels by December 14th and they should arrive on time.

Parcels from Germany to the USA or China will also not arrive in time for Christmas – the deadline for this was November 30th.

If you miss the deadline to post your Christmas mail, you can still get some parcels on their way in time at a slightly higher price.

With DHL's ExpressEasy option, you can still post parcels that are delivered within Germany until December 23rd. However, depending on the weight of the gift, this can cost between €10.72 and €43.87, according to DHL.

Parcels to capitals in other EU countries will also still arrive on December 24th with this service if you post them by December 23rd.

But keep in mind that letters and parcels posted on the last day of the deadline will only be delivered on time for Christmas if you drop them off at your post office branch.

Deadlines at Hermes and DPD

The other big parcel service providers, Hermes and DPD, give slightly later deadlines than DHL.

Hermes says it can deliver packages within Germany before Christmas if they are handed in by 12 noon on December 20th.

The last date for shipments to other EU countries is December 15th. DPD promises to deliver parcels within Germany by Christmas Eve if they are posted by 12noon on December 22nd at the latest.

For the express option, the latest delivery date is December 23rd, also 12noon. For shipments to other European countries, the deadline is December 18th.

However, if you want to be absolutely sure that your parcel will arrive on time before Christmas, you should not wait until the last day.

Hermes advises you to send your Christmas parcels by mid-December at the latest.

When are post offices open on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve?

Most post offices are open until 12noon on December 24th and December 31st.

What about letters to Der Christkind, St. Nikolas, or Der Weihnachtsmann (Santa Claus)?

All boys and girls should send their Wunschzettel (wish list). You should receive a reply if the letter arrives by the third Sunday in Advent (December 13th in 2020).

For more information on the tradition read our story here.

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LIVING IN GERMANY

REVEALED: The most commonly asked questions about Germans and Germany

Ever wondered what the world is asking about Germany and the Germans? We looked at Google’s most searched results to find out – and help clear some of these queries up.

Oktoberfest
Hasan Salihamidzic, the sports director of FC Bayern, arrives with his wife at Oktoberfest in full traditional dress. Photo: picture alliance/dpa |

According to popular searches, Germany is the go-to place for good coffee and bread (although only if you like the hard kind) and the place to avoid if what you’re looking for is good food, good internet connection and low taxes. Of course, this is subjective; some people will travel long stretches to get a fresh, hot pretzel or a juicy Bratwurst, while others will take a hard pass.

When it comes to the question on the bad Internet – there is some truth to this. German is known for being behind other rich nations when it comes to connectivity. And from personal experience, the internet connection can seem a little medieval. The incoming German coalition government has, however, vowed to improve internet connectivity as part of their plans to modernise the country.

There are also frequent questions on learning the German language, and people pointing out that it is hard and complicated. This is probably due to the long compound words and its extensive grammar rules, however, as both English and German are Germanic languages with similar words in common, it’s not impossible to learn as an English-speaker.

Here’s a look at some of those questions…

Why is German called Deutsch? Whereas ‘German’ comes from the Latin, ‘Deutsch’ instead derives itself from the Indo-European root “þeudō”, meaning “people”. This slowly became “Deutsch” as we know it today. It can be a bit confusing to English-speakers, who are right to think it sounds a little more like “Dutch”, however the two languages do have the same roots which may explain it.

And why is Germany so boring? Again, probably a generalisation, especially given that Germany has a landmass of over 350,000 km² with areas ranging from high rise, industrial cities to traditional old town villages and even mountain ranges, so you’re sure to find a place that doesn’t bore you to tears.

Perhaps it is a question that comes from the stereotype that Germans are obsessed with strict about rules, organised and analytical. Or that they have no sense of humour – all of these things being not the most exciting traits. 

Either way, from my experience I can confirm that, even though there is truth to German society enjoying order and rules, the vast majority of people are not boring, and I’m sure if you come to Germany you’ll meet many interesting, funny and exciting people. 

READ ALSO: 12 mistakes foreigners make when moving to Germany

When it comes to the German weather, most people assume a cold and cloudy climate, however this isn’t entirely true. While the autumn and winter, especially in the north, comes with grey skies and sub-zero temperatures, Germany can have some beautiful summers, with temperatures frequently rising above 30C in some places.

Unsurprisingly, the power and wealth of the German nation is mentioned – Germany is the largest economy in Europe after all, with a GDP of 3.8 trillion dollars. This could be due to strong industry sectors in the country, including vehicle constructions (I was a little surprised to find no questions posed on German cars), chemical and electrical industry and engineering. There are also many strong economic cities in Germany, most notably Munich, Frankfurt am Main and Hamburg.

READ ALSO: Eight unique words and phrases that tell us something about Germany

Smart and tall?

Why are Germans so tall? They are indeed taller than many other nations, with the average German measuring a good 172.87cm (or 5 feet 8.06 inches), however this may be a question better posed to the Dutch, who make up the tallest people in the world.

Why are Germans so smart? While this is again a generalisation – as individuals have different levels of intelligence in all countries – this question may stem from Germany’s free higher education system or their seemingly efficient work ethic. Plus there does seem to be some scientific research behind this question, with a study done in 2006 finding that Germans had the highest IQ in Europe.

So, while many of the questions posed about Germany and Germans on Google stem from stereotypes, we can confirm that some aren’t entirely made up. If you’re looking to debunk some frequently asked questions about France and the French, check out this article by our sister site HERE.

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