As we hurtle towards Christmas day the time window in which one can post last minute gifts and cards is ever-shrinking.
The last 1st class and 1st class signed for posting date in Britain is Wednesday 21 December.
2nd class post and 2nd class signed for items must be posted by Tuesday 20 December and special delivery guaranteed must be posted by Thursday 22 December.
Special delivery Saturday guaranteed services have a deadline of Friday 23 December.
The Royal Mail lists the following dates for international mail and HM Forces mail.
However, there is a potential blot on the horizon via the spectre of industrial action, set to involve 3,500 workers.
The Communication Workers Union said hundreds of Crown Post Offices will be hit and general secretary Dave Ward accused the management of rejecting a peace offer and warned of a continuing closure programme which would mean that the Post Office will cease to exist on high streets.
Kevin Gilliland, Post Office, group network and sales director, said: “Any action will affect fewer than 300 of our branches, and many of these will be open to maintain services for customers preparing for Christmas.
“We are disappointed that, whilst we’ve been holding discussions with the union throughout this week and have made it clear we remain open to further, formal talks at the most senior level, they are continuing to cause concern to customers during the festive season.”
The strikes do not involve Royal Mail employees although the Daily Telegraph reported that some Royal Mail staff may refuse to cross picket lines to collect mail from post offices.
A Royal Mail spokesman said: “There will be little or no impact on Royal Mail as a result of the CWU strike at the Post Office. Deliveries will carry on as normal and the last posting dates for Christmas remain unchanged.”
Further retailers are offering comprehensive delivery options, including TopShop, which will guarantee your items reach you before Christmas if you order before 4pm on Tuesday 20 December.
Express delivery to a chosen store will also be guaranteed, provided orders are placed by 6pm on 23 Friday December.
Asos offers a range of standard, next-day and evening delivery options.