Friday 16 December is the latest recommended day to post card and gifts 1st Class for them to arrive by Christmas.

Communication Workers Union (CWU) industrial action means that the 16 December is now the final chance to post for deliveries to arrive in time for Christmas Day, with the deadline for 2nd Class deliveries having already passed.

The news comes as Post Office research found that over a quarter of Brits worry that it would look like effort hasn’t been made if cards and gifts don’t arrive before Christmas Day.

Post Office is recommending customers visit branches ahead of the Friday deadline. This could minimise the risk of gifts getting caught in potential delays resulting from strike action, whilst also avoiding the Christmas rush.

However, customers unable to get into branch by Friday are in luck: they can still use Royal Mail’s Special Delivery Guaranteed® Service until 21 December to ensure cards and gifts arrive before Christmas Day.

Post Office is reminding consumers that knowing how to make Christmas parcels easily accepted in branch is key to a smooth trip, with its research showing that more than one in ten have had a parcel rejected.

The most common reasons for being caught out were shown to be trying to send parcels containing batteries, parcels not being wrapped correctly and illegible writing.

Laura Joseph, Post Office Customer Experience Director said, “Royal Mail has brought forward the last recommended posting dates for many of its services. As a result, Friday 16 December is now likely to be even busier in Post Office branches as customers race to ensure cards and gifts arrive for Christmas Day.

“As soon as you've got your parcels ready to go get them in the post – many Post Office branches are open long hours, and some are open 7 days a week so pop into your local branch and get your gifts sent in time for Christmas.”

The new last posting dates for arrival for Christmas Day are:

- 1st Class, 1st Class Signed For - 16 December

- Special Delivery Guaranteed - 21 December