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Parcel in time for Christmas: 5 tips on how to avoid stress and trouble

1. Save yourself the trip to the post office

reduce risk of infection. Surrounded by viruses, maybe covered with a face mask, waiting in line at the post office counter for what felt like an eternity? A nightmare for many. Fortunately, there are tens of thousands of alternatives throughout Germany. If you want to get your package on the way, you don’t necessarily have to go to one of the big post offices.

Visit partner shops. Retailers such as stationery shops or bakeries cooperate with the three major service providers in the industry – DHL, dpd and Hermes. The cooperation partners send parcels and accept them if recipients register online in advance.

Avoid rush hours. The small retailers are likely to be quieter before Christmas than the large branches, and the opening times there are usually extended.

Use pick-up service. For those who like it easy: Messengers from all service providers will pick up the parcels for a surcharge.

2. Print out the parcel labels yourself

Packing station. Completely contactless shipping at any time of the day or night is possible nationwide at the more than 10,000 fully automatic DHL Packstations. To do this, customers have to fill out a parcel label on their computer and pay online. Print out the ticket and stick it on the package.

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apartment All three service providers offer online parcel labels. They can be filled out on the computer and in the customer apps. In many branches it is sufficient to show the parcel label on the mobile phone. In this case it no longer has to be printed out. The apps also offer all sorts of additional functions, such as a location finder that shows all acceptance points. With the Hermes app, for example, you can also measure the package virtually.

3. Send your gifts on time

In order for gifts to be under the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve, they must be delivered on time. The service providers set dates for this in the weeks beforehand.

Shortly before. According to their own statements, parcels sent by dpd and Hermes will even reach their destination before Christmas Eve if they are dispatched on the morning of December 21st. © Getty Images, provider, Stiftung Warentest

Deadline for international mail:


  • France, Italy: December 14th
  • Switzerland (with Service Premium): 20th of December
  • All other neighboring countries: 15th December
  • Other European countries: 12th of December
  • Non-European countries: November 29 (with Service Premium: December 6)

Hermes: Parcels to Austria must be posted no later than December 20th. If gifts are sent to another country, in many cases they have to be well packaged for at least a week before they reach the acceptance point. A detailed list can be found here.

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dpd: December 17 (for European Union countries).

4. Pack everything well and securely

It is also important to pack everything well and securely in an undamaged box and seal it with adhesive tape. Voids must be filled, fragile items should be wrapped several times in paper or cling film. If glass containers contain liquids, they also come in a sealable plastic bag. Attaching decorations such as fir branches to the parcels is taboo, as are loose wrapping paper, twine and ribbons. They can damage packages and stop sorting equipment.

5. Pay attention to the liability conditions

Every year, vast amounts of packages disappear in an incomprehensible way. If you send valuable content, you should insure the package for an additional charge. Sometimes liability is included in the shipping price. In any case, you should read the terms of the contract carefully, because there, for example, liability for certain contents such as antiques can be excluded.

Tip: Speed ​​and reliability are trumps for parcel services – but not only: ecological aspects and the question of how employees are paid and treated should also play a role when choosing a service provider. Our large parcel service provider test from October 2022 provides the most important information on this. More about parcel and letter shipping and the possible annoyances associated with it on our topic page Post, postage and parcels.

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