Haven’t mailed your holiday packages? Here’s your need-to-know deadlines

Packages move on a conveyor to be sorted at a mail facility. Chris Young / THE CANADIAN PRESS

If you have last-minute holiday mail to send, you’ve still got a little bit of time. But not much.

With Christmas Day creeping ever closer, Canada Post is reminding the public of a series of upcoming deadlines to get letters and parcels in the mailbox.

LISTEN: What you need to know to get your holiday packages sent on time

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Letters to Santa

The most pressing deadline on the list is for kids to get their letters to Santa underway, Canada Post spokesperson Phil Legault told CKNW’s The Jill Bennett Show.

The last day to get those letters in the mail is Monday Dec. 11.

READ MORE: Canada Post says Santa won’t write individual letters to school kids

“So make sure, kids, to get your letters to Santa in the mail on Monday, and definitely always include a return address on on the envelope,” he said.

“There’s nothing that makes Santa and the elves more sad than when we don’t have a return address to send a letter back to you.”

Letters to Santa don’t require postage, and should be addressed to Santa Claus, North Pole, H0H 0H0, Canada.

WATCH: How to keep thieves from stealing your parcels this Christmas

Click to play video: 'Avoiding parcel thefts'
Avoiding parcel thefts

Canada Post deadlines

Anyone hoping to send a package or parcel by regular mail and have it arrive by Christmas Day is dealing with that same Dec. 11 deadline.

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But you can buy yourself some time if you’re willing to spring for premium mail service.

READ MORE: How to keep thieves from stealing your parcels this Christmas

“You really do have until Dec. 21 in order to mail those packages if you’re a huge procrastinator like me,” Legault said.

“But keep in mind, it’s going to cost a little bit more. It’s our Priority post service.”

Canada Post shipping deadlines.
Canada Post shipping deadlines. Canada Post

There is a lot more flexibility for people who want to send holiday cards that arrive before Christmas Day.

If you’re mailing within your city, you’ve got until Dec. 20 to make it to the mailbox.

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If the card is going somewhere within the province, you’ve got until Dec. 19. And if you’re sending elsewhere in Canada, you have until Dec. 18.

For shipping to the U.S., if you’re looking to pay bottom dollar, packages need to be mailed by Tuesday, Dec. 12.

But if you are willing to spend a little more, you can ship packages by Xpresspost until Dec. 16, and Priority Worldwide right up until Dec. 20.

For packages heading overseas, you’ve already missed the deadline for traditional airmail and Xpresspost, but the pricier Priority Worldwide option remains open.

Deadlines vary from Dec. 16 to Dec. 19, depending on where you’re sending your package.

A full list of Canada Post mailing deadlines is available online.

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WATCH: The journey of a holiday package at a Canada Post plant (2013)

Private shippers

You can also send packages and cards through private shippers, but expect to pay a little bit more — especially if it’s last minute.

FedEx will accept a package for pre-Christmas delivery to most major metropolitan areas in Canada and the U.S. right up to Dec. 21.

READ MORE: Thief followed FedEx truck stealing packages from front porches in Vancouver, victim says

If you’re sending to Latin America or Europe, you can use FedEx until Dec. 20. Packages to Asia must be in by Dec. 19, and parcels to Middle Eastern and African cities have a Dec. 18 deadline.

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You can find out more about the FedEx holiday schedule and pricing here.

WATCH: ‘It’s our Stanley Cup of the year:’ FedEx delivering millions of packages during holidays (2015)

Purolator will accept packages for delivery to Canada and the U.S. until Dec. 21. Ground shipping to the U.S. must be sent by Dec. 13.

Packages headed to Europe, Australia, Mexico or South and Central America must be sent by Dec. 18.

If you’re sending something through Purolator to Asia, it needs to be in the mail by Dec. 15. Packages headed anywhere else need to be in by Monday Dec. 11.

You can find Purolator’s holiday shipping schedule here.

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READ MORE: ‘It’s our Stanley Cup of the year:’ FedEx delivering millions of packages during holidays

And if you want to send your packages through UPS, you have until Dec. 21 for Canadian and U.S. destinations.

Packages for international delivery need to be submitted by Dec. 20.

You can see UPS’ full holiday schedule here.

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