The rules vary for different countries and companies, so always check before you send anything between nations. If you fall foul of any expectations your presents may not make it past the postman.
Sending any aerosols, from fancy deodorants to hairspray, via international mail is a strict no no.
In yet another example of Christmas Spirits not being unstoppable, strong alcohol (24% ABV and above) is also prohibited.
Batteries can only be sent if they are still sealed in their original packaging.
Customs declaration must be stuck to parcels sent anywhere outside of Europe, but some companies will take care of this themselves.
Addressing for European destinations
Many countries have different rules to the UK. For example, German address labels require postcodes before towns and house numbers after street names.
To prevent delays to any post sent to Spain, the province should always be put (in brackets) after the town name.
Write your addresses clearly and consider foreign translations! A Cambridge family’s presents didn’t arrive until February because they were sent to Cambodia after a French sorting office thought the address read Combodge, the French word for the Asian country.
Sending gifts back to the UK
If you’re sending gifts back to the UK from a non-EU country, customs charges may be applied.
If customs charges are incurred, an £8 Royal Mail handling fee will also be applied.
While not exactly in the spirit of things, gifts are liable for VAT if they are worth over £36 and, in some circumstances, customs duty will also be required.