What are the Christmas deadlines in Germany for posting letters and parcels?

Aaron Burnett
Aaron Burnett - [email protected]
What are the Christmas deadlines in Germany for posting letters and parcels?
The Deutsche Post's own 'Father Christmas'. Plan ahead if you need certain gifts to arrive abroad in time for the 25th. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Bernd Settnik

Germany has one of the best postal services in the world - but you're still going to need to plan ahead if you want to send presents abroad and have them arrive in time for Christmas.


Deutsche Post – or German Post – is open for business as usual on Saturday, December 23rd. And if you're sending letters or parcels within Germany - you have quite a bit of time to go and have your well wishes and gifts still arrive in time for Christmas. The carrier says you should have your packages in by the 20th and your letters in by the 21st.

Those willing to pay for an express option on their packages within Germany can buy themselves an extra day and have their parcel in by the 21st.

But if - like many foreigners - you plan on sending stuff abroad this holiday season, you'll need significantly more time in many cases.

It’s probably fairly obvious too that the further the package has to go, the earlier you’ll have to send it. For those willing to shell out a little extra, priority options might buy you a bit more time – but bad planning can still land you with a late-arriving gift.

Deutsche Post also advises people that no matter what the stated deadline is, try sending things as early as you can. A recent survey found that while Germany may have the third-best postal service in the world, the receiving country’s postal service might simply not be at the same level.

READ ALSO: Germany ranked as having 'third-best postal service' in the world


Sending letters and packages within Europe

Even if your letter or package isn’t leaving the continent, you’re going to need to get your shopping done with plenty of time to spare.

If you’re sending a parcel within Europe and you want it to arrive by Christmas, you’re going to need to have it into the post office by December 11th – a full two weeks before Christmas. That is unless you’re willing to pay for an express option, in which case you have until December 21st. That's still the better part of a week ahead of Christmas.

Those who are sending either letters only or those who are shipping packages to eight out of Germany's nine neighbouring countries have a bit more time - but not much.

If your parcel is headed to the Czech Republic, Poland, Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, or Switzerland - you have until December 14th to send it. The big exception to the neighbour country rule for packages sent through Deutsche Post is France. Packages going there need to be in by the 11th - the same deadline as other EU countries.

If you're only sending letters to another European country and not a parcel, you have until December 13th.

Again, due to the high volume of packages being sent at this time of year, you're advised to send any parcels or letters you have with as much extra time as you can.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about sending post between Germany and the UK after Brexit


Sending Christmas cards, letters, and parcels outside Europe

If your gifts or well-wishes are going further afield, you’ll really need to hurry up.

The latest you’ll be able to send anything outside Europe that needs to get to its destination by Christmas is December 5th, when using express options. The deadline for sending packages outside of Europe using a non-priority option already passed on November 28th.

Leave a lot of time to get your gifts outside Europe. Photo: Saeed Khan/AFP/Ritzau Scanpix

Meanwhile, letters that are leaving Europe need to be in the post by December 6th to make it to their destination on time.

While some sent after this date may still arrive on time, there's no guarantee beyond the 6th - particularly for post that must go quite far afield.

READ ALSO: How Deutsche Post wants to create a 'two-tier' system for mail in Germany


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