I work for the Post Office – here's how to avoid queues this Christmas

GIVING a gift to friends and family is one of the joys of Christmas – but not if you have to battle big queues to send it to them.

Post Offices across the country will be packed with people posting presents, so here's how you can avoid the long waits.

Laura Joseph is customer experience director at the Post Office and has shared her top Christmas tips.

Choose the right time

It can be difficult to find the time to get to the Post Office, but going at the right time can save you time in the long run.

Popping in on you lunch break is likely to be a longer job than expected at this time of year.

Laura said: "Where possible, avoid the lunchtime rush and make use of longer opening hours by popping in early or in the evening, perhaps after work. 

You can check you local Post Office opening hours using the branch finder and entering your postcode

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Google can show you how busy Post Office branches are through the day

A neat trick for finding out how busy your local branch is and the quiet times specific to that location is using Google.

Search for your Post Office and it It will show you traffic volumes of people based on an average score, as well as "live" data.

The blue shows the average amount of shoppers, while the pink shows the number of people in the store at the time you're looking.

Opening hours may be different in the run up to Christmas, so make sure you check directly, as Google does not always have these updated hours.

Avoid this day

The later you leave your posting the longer it's likely to take.

The Post Office is predicting that Monday December 20 will be its busiest ever day this year.

With Christmas Day falling on a Saturday, there's a full five working days in the lead up to the big day this year.

That means customers may be tempted to wait until the last moment to tackle their Christmas ‘to do’ list, says Laura.

Post Officewere twice as busy in 2019 in the two weeks leading up to Christmas, and the same is expected this year.

Pack presents before

Faffing at the counter with wrapping an packing can slow everyone down.

Laura says: "Try to prepare what you can before you head into branch to save time.

"Don’t wait until you’re in a busy branch to pack items: it’s much better to do it in the comfort of your own home."

You also need to check they are packed correctly to avoid them being rejected at the Post Office counter.

"Make sure your parcels are in a fit state to send, for example, parcels with strings or bows on the outer layer won’t be accepted," says Laura.

"And don’t forget that you can take advantage of services with tracking and cover for high value goods. 

Check your dates

You don't want to spend time waiting to post your packages, only to find you've missed the last post dates, so check these first especially if you're sending abroad.

Laura says: "If you’re posting abroad, make a note of the last posting dates and make use of online customs forms.

"You can fill these in advance of your trip which will help save time."

You can check all the last dates for posting letters and parcels at home and abroad in our guide.

It's also worth checking what items you can and can't send so you don't waste any time.

"Many people don’t realise that you can’t post gifts containing alcohol, nail polish, aftershave or perfume internationally so it’s a good idea to check in advance," she added.

You can check the restricted items list on the Post Office website.

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