December has begun, which means time is running out if you have a holiday letter or parcel to send across the country or someplace else on the planet.
Canada Post says that if you’ve got cards and letters to send within Canada and you want to make sure they get to their destination by Dec. 25, they should be in the mail by Dec. 17.
Regular parcels, meanwhile, should be out by Dec. 11.
Letters going abroad should be on their way by Dec. 7, while regular packages should have been sent already.
If you’re planning to send a Christmas wishlist to the North Pole at the postal code H0H 0H0, letters sent by regular mail do not require postage. But Canada Post advises to send your letter by Dec. 16 “to make sure Santa has enough time to read it and respond.”
Shipping in Canada
Cost and distance determine the deadlines for mailing and shipping cards and gifts.
Canada Post lists these dates for mail inside the country:
|Holiday Cards||Send by:||Holiday Packages||Send by:|
|Local Delivery||Dec. 21||Priority||Dec. 23|
|Within Province||Dec. 18||Xpresspost||Dec. 22|
|Outside Province||Dec. 17||Regular Parcel||Dec. 11|
Normally, parcels sent at regular rates take up to nine business days for delivery outside the province, so Canada Post is adding one day for the holiday season.
Canada Post guarantees that Priority and Xpresspost packages will be delivered by the end of the next business day for packages sent locally or within the province (and nationally for Priority) for most major urban centres. They will do deliveries until 6 p.m. on Dec. 24.
Xpresspost rates are about double the regular cost and Priority costs about three times as much.
Information on Canada Post’s website suggests that if the gift you send is no more than 2 x 27 x 38 cm in size and weighs less than 500 g, you can send it lettermail at a fraction of what it would cost to send it as a parcel.
Sending small gifts separately to the same address could also save money on postage.
Mail to the U.S. and abroad
Cards or letters need to be mailed by Dec. 7 to reach addresses outside Canada by Dec. 25, although if they’re going to the U.S., you have until Dec. 14. If they’re going to Africa, Canada Post says they needed the letters by Nov. 23.
Packages sent to U.S. addresses need to be mailed a few days earlier, compared to Canadian addresses:
- Expedited parcel: Dec. 9
- Xpresspost: Dec. 16
- Priority: Dec. 22
For parcels sent to other countries, only Priority and Xpresspost packages will get delivered by Dec. 25 if you send them now. For example, an Xpresspost parcel sent to Africa by Dec. 3 should still arrive on time.
If you’re willing to spend the big bucks for Priority post, you have until Dec. 21 to send parcels to the United Kingdom, France and Germany.
3,400 parcels per minute
Canada Post expects that Dec. 14 will be its busiest delivery day. Spokesperson Anick Losier anticipates Canada Post will handle 3,400 parcels per minute that day.
Losier says Canada Post expects to handle 20 per cent more parcels than the 36 million they processed last year during November and December. Canada Post does one quarter of its annual parcel deliveries during those two months.
Losier says that the 75 per cent of Canadian shoppers who will do at least some of their shopping online, should consult the merchant’s shipping information for delivery dates.