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When are the Christmas deadlines for sending gifts from Italy?

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When are the Christmas deadlines for sending gifts from Italy?
Compared to many other countries - Austrians are fairly frugal with Christmas spending - and intend to spend less this year. Photo by The Retro Store on Unsplash

If you want your Christmas gifts and cards from Italy to arrive before the holiday, when should you aim to post them by?


Christmas is the busiest time of the year for postal companies, who receive a significant portion of their annual workload in the six weeks leading up to the holiday.

If you want to send a package home from Italy in time for Christmas, you'll want to make sure you allow plenty of time for it to get there.

Italian postal service Poste Italiane hasn't published its last delivery dates to guarantee your seasonal gifts arrive at their intended destination in good time. 

But in normal circumstances, most items sent through Poste Italiane's Postapriority Internazionale service take three working days (starting the day after the item was posted) to arrive in the rest of Europe from Italy, and four to five working days to reach countries in the 'Mediterranean Basin'.

It takes five to six working days for post to get to North America; seven to eight working days to reach Central and South America, Oceania and Asia; and eight to nine days to reach African countries.

READ ALSO: The strikes affecting travel in Italy in December 2023

Items sent via the standard Postamail Internazionale service, meanwhile, will take significantly longer: eight working days to reach countries in Europe; 12 in the Mediterranean Basin; 16 in North America and Oceania; and 22 in the rest of the world.

While the carrier hasn't released deadlines for international Christmas post, it has put out a calendar that lays out when deliveries will and won't take place over the Christmas period.

From Saturday, December 23rd to Tuesday, December 26th, no deliveries will be carried out; meaning packages posted on Friday 22nd won't be collected for delivery until the 27th.


Delivery services will also be paused on December 31st and January 1st, and on January 6th (Epiphany).

That means for a package to stand the best chance of arriving in time for Christmas, you'll want to count back your days from the 22nd - and then add on a few more, just to be safe.

READ ALSO: What changes in Italy in December 2023

A Christmas-themed decoration sits on top of a traditional red Royal Mail post box in the UK. Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP.

Private couriers like Fed-Ex and DPD have their own deadlines, and if you're buying online each company has its own deadline on when it can guarantee a Christmas delivery.

Britain’s Royal Mail, meanwhile, has issued its guaranteed delivery dates for its various parcel services this year. The deadlines are as follows and offer a pretty sensible guide:

International Economy deliveries

Guaranteed delivery deadlines have already passed for all global destinations using this service.

International Tracking and Signature Services

Monday, December 11th: Australia, New Zealand, Africa, Central and South America, Asia, Bulgaria, Caribbean, China, Far and Middle East, Norway, Portugal, Spain


Tuesday, December 12th: Cyprus and Malta

Wednesday, December 13th: USA, Ireland, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Eastern Europe, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey

International Standard (Untracked)

Tuesday, December 5th: Australia, New Zealand, Africa, Central and South America, Asia, Caribbean, China, Far and Middle East

Wednesday, December 6th: Cyprus and Malta

Thursday, December 7th: Ireland, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Eastern Europe (except Czech Republic and Poland), France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey

Friday, December 8th: Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Italy, Poland, Sweden, USA


Customs and VAT

If you are sending to a country outside the EU (which of course now includes the UK) then you will need to fill out a customs declaration form explaining what is in your parcel and whether it is a gift or not.

In addition to standard postal charges, you may also need to pay customs duties, depending on the value or your parcel and whether it is a gift or not. 

In general terms, however, no VAT should be due on packages worth less than €45, as long as they are clearly marked as gifts. Customs duty is due on orders worth more than €150. 

Banned items

Some items that are banned from the post - if you're sending parcels to the US be aware that you cannot send alcohol through the mail as a private individual, so don't try a ship some nice Italian wine or a bottle of your local amaro liqueur. 

READ ALSO: Christmas travel between Italy and the UK: What not to pack in your suitcase

Most countries ban firearms and fireworks, not unreasonably, although be aware that this includes items like sparklers.


Sending food and plants is also often restricted with countries including Canada and Australia having strict rules and most other countries imposing restrictions on what you can send.

This also applies the other way and Italy bans any foodstuffs containing animal products (e.g. chocolate) sent from outside the EU. 


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