It is that time of year when I am a little more frazzled then usual, for by day (well, the mornings anyway) I am a village Subpostmistress (a pillar of the community with the word mistress in the job title!). It is the time of silly questions, impatient customers and a dangerous amount of parcels piled high in my tiny post office… so many that on one day last year I had to climb out of the parcel hatch to get to the toilet!


So, here are a few tips from me to make the most of the post…

1. Allow plenty of time to visit your local Post Office between now and Christmas. You will not be the only one with a thousand things to do before the school pick up and everyone has parcels to post as well so be patient. For some it is an annual visit and they need more help than others too.

2. Wrap your parcels properly. You may have written fragile on the outside, but once they are in a mail sack no-one can see that, and with literally tons of mail to be moved, the next time your package will have any care and attention spent on it, it will be in the hands of the delivering postie. Most mail is sorted by machine now. Make sure the addresses are clear, especially if recycling old packaging.

3. Check the last posting dates… all the surface mail dates have now passed. A full list is here at, but in short if you have stuff for New Zealand and Australia you need to get a wriggle on to be sure presents are there in time. The last posting date for New Zealand is 4th December… that’s next week! It is way cheaper to send two items under 2kg than one over 2kg, so think about this while you are wrapping, and split presents containing more than one item if you are likely to go over this magic number. An average card will cost you £1.28 to send outside of Europe (which is 88p) but a lovely large gorgeous one will cost you £1.88… think small with lots of love crammed inside rather than luxurious to save yourself quite a few pennies!

4. You will be asked what is in your packages for safety reasons. Wrap nail varnishes in packets of no more than 4 make sure lithium batteries are installed in their intended items and check the Royal Mail website for details of what can be sent with regard to perfumes etc at

5. Don’t guess at your postage. You may be paying way over what you need to if you just slap lots of stamps on, or worse, incurring a fine and the difference to be paid by the recipient.

6. Make your packets as small as possible. Items going abroad are priced on weight alone, but in the UK it is priced by weight and size.


And finally, bring lots of cheers, mince pies and glasses of sherry (or gin) to your local frazzled postmistress… oops, did I say that out loud????

Merry Christmas!

Penny x