Festive fever is gripping the nation as shopaholic Brits fill their baskets earlier than ever.
And with the countdown to Christmas intensifying, feelings of optimism, happiness and excitement have never been higher as the nation aims to make this year’s celebrations extra special.
New research reveals around two-thirds of us have already started our Christmas shopping, with six in ten reckoning they’re relishing the festive season more than ever.
Exactly three-fifths of buoyant Brits are feeling optimistic, happy and excited ahead of this year’s festivities – a whopping 50 per cent increase on the same sentiment last year.
And the findings – conducted by the Post Office – also show that four in ten want to be more organised this Christmas and almost a third (30 per cent) are set on making this year as special as possible.
Over eight in ten (82 per cent) want to buy presents earlier than before and Kristian Latham, Head of Letters and Parcels at Post Office, is urging the nation to be as organised as possible.
He said: “Christmas is the busiest time of the year at our branches, so it’s reassuring to hear from our postmasters that customers are shopping and posting early.
“Our postmasters are always available to help guide customers during the busy festive period – but there are some simple steps everyone can take to make local branch trips quicker and easier.
“We encourage customers to take advantage of longer opening hours to avoid the busiest times and check the latest recommended posting dates.”
Since leaving the EU at the beginning of the year, all gifts or goods being sent to both EU and non-EU destinations need a customs form or they cannot be sent.
And for any Brits who only post to the EU at Christmas, this will be a first.
The Post Office have issued some tips on how to fill the forms in correctly and prevent parcels being returned to the sender, including checking you can post the item – many people don’t realise some things like perfume and aftershave cannot be sent abroad – check the full list here or ask for more information in your local branch.
It’s also important to ensure you choose the right customs form – which vary based on the postage service and value of the item. It’s essential to complete the form legibly, in block capitals because the information is scanned to capture it electronically, so it’s vital it can be read. Finally, you must complete all the relevant fields, including sender’s details, an accurate description of the contents, weight and value of each item AND a total weight and value.
Furthermore, VAT registered businesses need to include their GB EORI or VAT registered number and HS tariff numbers –missing information will mean parcels are returned to you – while people must also ensure they attach the completed customs form to the front of the item being posted.
It’s crucial Brits get this right and Latham added: “We encourage customers to fill out customs forms at home before they get to the branch. For help either visit our website or our postmasters can help in branch.”
The Post Office’s research also found Brits are more than twice as likely to enjoy Christmas shopping than find it stressful this year, with a quarter planning to spend more on close family owing to the lifting of Covid restrictions.
Exactly two-fifths have got their shopping underway early because of concern over shortages, delays and long queues, while a quarter are worried they will be seen to be not making an effort if Christmas gifts don't arrive on time.
And one in 10 are even fretting that they may have to explain to their children why Santa didn’t bring gifts!
Meanwhile, the increase of online shopping looks set to continue, with four in 10 planning to buy mostly online and 82 per cent of online sellers either expecting or experiencing earlier Christmas purchasing.
Last Christmas posting dates are available here and Latham added: “Our number one message this year is to post early to avoid disappointment.”
For more information this Christmas period, head to the Post Office’s Christmas hub, https://www.postoffice.co.uk/christmas