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CHRISTMAS

How to send parcels to and from Norway this Christmas

Christmas will soon be upon us, and there's bad news for those who like to leave things until the last minute. Advance planning is needed to ensure gifts sent to and from Norway arrive on time.

Pictured are a number of Christmas gifts.
These are the rules and deadlines you need to know about for Christmas 2021. Pictured is a handful of Christmas presents. Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

The festive season is a time to spend with friends, family and loved ones. However, this isn’t always possible for those living in other countries, so sending a gift or card is the next best way of showing the people you care about that you are thinking about them. 

Sending letters and cards

This year the deadline to send letters ranges from December 1st to December 14th. Letters and small postcards with no monetary value must weigh less than 2kg and have a maximum length of 60cm and maximum length + width + thickness of 90cm. Anything outside of these dimensions will need to be sent as a package. 

The deadlines for sending letters and parcels to various destinations are listed below.

  • Sweden and Denmark: December 14th
  • Rest of Nordic countries: December 10th
  • Germany: December 13th
  • Rest of Europe: December 8th
  • USA and Canada: December 6th
  • Rest of the world: December 1st

The Norwegian postal service, Posten Norge, recommends sending any letters and small packages ahead of the deadlines in case of any issues and that delays of up to two days can also be expected to allow packages to pass through customs clearance. 

You won’t need to fill out a customs document if the card or letter doesn’t contain anything of monetary value. However, if it does have something of value, gifts included, you will need to fill out a customs declaration. An online calculator can be used to work out the cost of customs.

It should be noted that the recipient may have to pay customs and tolls on any gifts of value, so be sure to check the rules for the country to which packages are sent.

Receiving cards and letters from abroad

The deadline for getting cards to Norway will depend on the country from where they are sent. Check with postal services where you are. Generally, it’s always better to leave more time in case of delays or disruption. 

If you receive a card or letter with a small gift, fees apply if the value of the present is more than 1,000 kroner.

Send gifts and packages from Norway

Deadlines for sending gifts from Norway vary considerably depending on where they are sent from. Deadlines for some countries are at the end of November, while the cut-off point for the Nordics is December 15th. 

For Great Britain, it’s December 10th, for Canada December 3rd, for the USA November 26th, for Australia December 2nd, New Zealand’s deadline is December 2nd, South Africa has a December 6th deadline. 

To send gifts abroad, you will need to register all goods and items, weigh and measure the package, and fill out the sender and recipient information. The information on what the package contains should be in English. You also need to disclose what the items are. Writing “gift” is not specific enough. 

You will also need to print all the documents, pay the shipping and send them off. You should also check out what the recipient is and isn’t allowed to receive in their country. Senders are not allowed to ship weapons, ammunition, live animals, remains, tobacco products, dangerous goods or valuable contents such as gold, silver, precious stones, coins, banknotes or securities. Packages must not have a value of more than 100,000 kroner either. 

The cost for sending presents can be checked online.

Sending Christmas gifts to Norway

As with letters, deadlines and costs vary depending on the postal service you are using. 

Gifts under 1,000 kroner are exempt, providing the package is sent from a private individual abroad to one in Norway. If you order gifts from abroad and send them directly to somebody, then the receiver will be charged import duties, so in most cases, it’s cheaper to order it yourself and then send it on. 

If you send multiple gifts in one package, say for several family members, you do not need to pay import duties or taxes provided the value of the gift to each individual is 1,000 kroner. For example, if your family consists of five members, a gift shipment may have a value of 5,000 kroner, and you will not pay any import charges provided the gifts are marked to the different family members, and the value of the gift to each person is 1,000 kroner or less. This must be specified on the outside of the shipment and in the transport documents. 

There are rules for what you can and can’t send, and some things are taxed regardless of whether it is a gift, such as alcohol. Tobacco products cannot be sent as a gift. 

Meat or dairy products from outside the EU/EEA, including the UK, cannot be sent to Norway. If you are planning to send some food products such as cakes, cookies, biscuits, and chocolates, you should check rules for specific products with the Norwegian Food Safety Authority.

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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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