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What are Christmas deadlines for packages to UK and US from France?

Dates vary between services and type of package being sent

If you are sending parcels back home, the cut-off point may be coming up soon Pic: rawf8 / Shutterstock

The delivery deadlines during the Christmas season can vary for packages sent to the UK, the US and around the world.

We look at when you have to send them to make sure that they arrive in time for Christmas.

Most packages sent within France can be safely sent up to one week before Christmas day, but for those sent overseas the deadline can vary. 

The increased volume of international parcels sent during the holiday season means that the advertised delivery times may not be accurate, and many delivery services have cut-off points to guarantee that they arrive in time.

In addition, Christmas day is on a Monday this year, meaning that in areas where post is not delivered on Sundays, packages will need to arrive on Saturday (December 23), bringing forward the deadlines.

Some of the prices at Christmas may also be higher than usual, due to the increased volume of parcels and the need for express delivery.

Read also: Undelivered parcels sold by kilo in France - contents are a surprise

Parcels and letters to the UK

Depending on the courier, parcels to the UK have to be sent around 10 days before Christmas day. 

If using DHL Express, the cut-off point for a parcel to arrive by December 23 (the last guaranteed pre-Christmas delivery date) is December 15. 

This is also the cut-off point given by Colissimo (La Poste’s parcel subsidiary). 

La Poste’s own service – used for sending letters and cards – takes between three and five days to deliver to Great Britain (and four to five for Ireland – it is unsure what the rule is for Northern Ireland).

This would mean December 18 is the cut-off point for letters to arrive in time for Christmas (accounting for December 23 being a Saturday).

However, it would be wise to follow the Colissimo deadline of December 15, since the information on La Poste’s website is not specific to Christmas. 

Read more: What is the best way to send a small parcel from France to the UK?

Parcels to US and the rest of the world 

The US and other Anglophone countries (Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Canada, etc), fall under the ‘rest of world’ category for most delivery services, although there are some exceptions.

The delivery deadlines with these services are:

  • DHL Express: December 15 (the ‘outside of EU’ deadline). 

  • Colissimo: December 9. 

  • La Poste: December 9 for Australia and New Zealand. December 15 for the US and Canada. 

  • Delivergo: November 24 to the US. December 4 to Canada (or December 14 from the Île-de-France region).

Go to your post office for help

If you are unsure of the deadlines – or of the best way to send your package – ask your local post office. 

It will advise you on when you need to send the parcel, and which of their own services (La Poste, Colissimo, Chronopost) is best suited to your needs. 

Alternatively, consult the websites of other services (like UPS and FedEx). You can typically enter the information about your parcel, along with the recipient address, to see an estimation of the delivery date – they usually tell you if the package will arrive before Christmas.

Read also

Children in France can write to Father Christmas via La Poste

PHOTOS: Seven beautiful Christmas markets in France 

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