Don't miss the Christmas post! When are the last festive posting dates in 2019?
PUBLISHED: 21:30 16 December 2019
Have you got round to mailing off your Christmas cards and presents? There are only a few days left to make sure they get there on time.
Most of us have lots of things to do to get ready for the big day, so it's all too easy to forget about heading for the nearest postbox. But, if you don't do so soon, your presents and cards could end up arriving after Christmas!
This year's Christmas stamp designs feature colourful traditional Nativity scenes, designed by paper-cut artists Hari and Deepti. The second-class stamp features a blue design showing the Angel Gabriel, while the first-class stamp is a red-toned image showing Mary and baby Jesus.
They have been proving very popular, though, so you may find that the special designs are in short supply in some post offices around Suffolk and north Essex.
What are the Royal Mail's last recommended posting dates this Christmas?
Second-class cards and parcels: Wednesday, December 18 is the last posting date. This is also the last date for second class signed for mail.
The standard price for a second-class stamp is currently 61p, while for a large letter this can vary from 83p to £2.33. Books of 12 standard Christmas second-class stamps cost £7.32.
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First class cards and parcels: Friday, December 20 is the last recommended date. This is also the last date for the Royal Mail Tracked 48 service, for businesses.
The standard price for a first-class stamp is currently 70p, and for a large letter the price can vary from £1.06 to £2.72. Books of 12 standard Christmas first-class stamps cost £8.40.
Special delivery Guaranteed: If you've missed the last date for regular posting, you can still get Special Delivery items sent right up until Monday, December 23. The last date for the Royal Mail Tracked 24 service, for businesses, is slightly earlier, on Saturday, December 21.
International post: You've already missed the last official date for posting to most countries - but for Belgium, France, Ireland and Luxembourg the last recommended date is Wednesday, December 18.
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Christmas collection times
The Royal Mail aims to make normal collections up until December 23. However, due to the volume of mail, collection times can differ, so it is worth checking the time on the postbox. Many in Ipswich have a last collection time of 4pm or 5pm, while the post box in Lloyds Avenue has a 6pm collection time.
The last collection in Ipswich is at the delivery Office in Commercial Road, which is currently running seasonal opening hours. Its last collection time is normally 6.45pm.
The office is open from 7am to 7.30pm from Monday to Friday, with 8pm late closure on Wednesday. On Saturday, opening hours are from 7am to 5.30pm, and on Sunday from 11am to 3pm. Christmas Eve opening will be from 7am to 4pm.