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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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WEATHER

Will anywhere in France get a white Christmas this year?

A white Christmas might be at the top of many people's festive wish list but will it actually come true for anyone in France this year?

Haut-Koenigsbourg castle in Orschwiller, eastern France.
Haut-Koenigsbourg castle in Orschwiller, eastern France. Non-mountainous parts of the country will not see snow this year. (Photo by PATRICK HERTZOG / AFP)

If you’re in France and have been dreaming of a white Christmas, you are probably out of luck. 

It has been freezing in recent days with temperatures falling to a low of -33.4C in Jura on Wednesday morning, but the cold spell isn’t going to last. 

Temperatures across the country will hover around the 10C level in most of France by the afternoon on December 25th according to Météo France, with parts of the country including Brittany and some parts of eastern France experiencing rainfall. 

By the afternoon on Christmas Day, the chances of snow look extremely limited. Source: www.meteofrance.com

On Saturday, there will be some snowfall, but only if you are high in the mountains at an altitude of 1,800-2,000m. On Sunday, places above 1,500m could also see snow – but this rules out the vast majority of the country. 

Roughly half the country will see sunshine over the weekend. The French weather channel said that this Christmas could be among the top five or six warmest since 1947. 

Last year, Météo France cautioned: “While we often associate snow with Christmas in the popular imagination, the probability of having snow in the plains [ie not in the mountains] during this period is weak in reality.”

One of the last great Christmas snowfalls, outside of France’s mountainous areas, came in 2010 when 3-10 cm of snow fell in Lille, Rouen and Paris. In Strasbourg, 26cm fell. 

On Christmas Day in 1996, 12 cm of snow fell in Angers – ironically, this was also the day that the film, Y’aura t’il de la neige à Noël? (Will there never be snow at Christmas?) was released. It had been ten years since France had seen such snowfall outside of the Alps and Pyrenees. 

Météo France directly attributes declining rates of Christmas snowfall to climate change. Compared to 50 years ago, even the Alps receives the equivalent one less month of snowfall per year. 

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