Ulster posties to deliver 50 million Christmas items
You probably haven't even bought the stamps yet, but our posties are gearing up for a 50 million-strong storm of Christmas mail.
The Royal Mail expects to be dealing with a deluge of more than two billion festive greetings this year, with 50 million of these collected, sorted and delivered in Northern Ireland.
A spokesman for Royal Mail predicts that Monday, December 17 will be the busiest day of the year with 123 million items entering the system - compared to an average daily figure of 83 million.
To beat the rush, Royal Mail is advising customers to post their Christmas gifts and greetings well before the last recommended posting dates.
For UK mail this is Thursday, December 20 for 1st Class and Monday, December 17 for 2nd Class items. For those last-minute or valuable items, customers have until Saturday, December 22 to send by Special Delivery.
For airmail items to Western Europe, the last recommended posting date is December 13 ; for Eastern Europe, the USA, Canada and Japan it is December 10; and the rest of the world is December 7.
Royal Mail is also reminding customers to ensure their mail is properly stamped and addressed, and not to forget to use the postcode.
The spokesman said: "UK postage prices are based on the size as well as the weight of the item and post is priced in three sizes - Letter, Large Letter and Packet.
"Customers are advised to ensure they have attached the correct postage. If in doubt, items can be checked at your local Post Office branch, on our website www.royalmail.com or by calling 08457 740 740."
For sending festive wishes across the globe, Royal Mail's Airsure service means that mail leaves the UK on the first available flight, receives priority handling abroad, and is electronically tracked en route to its destination. The International Signed-For service means items are signed-for on delivery and receive a quick dispatch from the UK. Books of European and world-wide stamps are available allowing people to send letters or cards up to 40g.