Delivering Christmas: Deadlines fast approaching to ship presents

The deadlines are fast approaching for Canadians who have to ship gifts to loved ones who live far away — and for letters to Santa.

Letters to Santa due by Dec. 11, last day to ship in Canada is Dec. 21

Canada Post employees are being kept busy during the holiday season, with double the volume of just five years ago. (Canada Post)

The deadlines are fast approaching for Canadians who have to ship gifts to loved ones who live far away — and for letters to Santa.

Marc Smith, director of strategy and e-commerce for Canada Post, said 2017 is a record year again for shipping volume and this week alone they will deliver eight million parcels, twice the volume they delivered just five years ago.

"As we approach Christmas Day, it becomes more and more important for when people shop online, to have a look at the merchants that they shop from to make sure that the merchant's shipping policy guarantees a delivery by Christmas," Smith said.

He noted getting something shipped to Canada, the border crossing can cause delays and the closer to Christmas they order, they may be disappointed on the day.

"At Canada Post, we try to deliver Christmas for everyone who meets our deadlines," Smith said.

Letters to Santa

Santa's deadline is closest, with Monday, Dec. 11 being the last day for children hoping to get a response before Christmas. Canada Post has some tips on writing a letter and making sure Santa is able to mail back to the right address. Smith advised people should go to a Canada Post office to ensure their letter makes the deadline. No postage is required for the letters to Santa.

Children wanting to send a letter to Santa should do so by Dec. 11 so there's time for him to return it by Christmas Day. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)

Within Canada

Canada Post has varying deadlines for regular mail and packages within Canada. For holiday cards, Dec. 18 is the deadline for anything out of province, Dec. 19 for within your own province and Dec. 20 for local delivery.

2017 is a record year again for shipping volume, Canada Post says. (Shutterstock / Cookie Studio)

If you're sending a package in Canada, the regular shipping deadline is Dec. 11, and packages can be sent as late as Dec. 21 with priority shipping.

To the U.S.

If you're sending a card or package to the U.S., you must do so by Dec. 12. You can also send a package to the U.S. as late as Dec. 20 if you use priority worldwide shipping.

If you need to ship internationally, your only option now is priority worldwide shipping. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

International

If you need to ship internationally, your only option now is priority worldwide shipping.

  • For Africa and the Middle East, the deadline is Dec. 16.

  • For Asia, Australia and New Zealand, the deadline is Dec. 18.

  • For Europe and the Americas, the deadline is Dec. 19.

Amazon

If you're looking to get something shipped from Amazon, the deadline for free shipping to rural areas is Dec. 11 and for urban areas Dec. 14. For shipping internationally, Dec. 12 is the deadline for standard shipping and can go as late as Dec. 14. If you're shipping to someone in a major urban area, you can order as late as Dec. 23 with one-day shipping.

With files from Laura Chapin