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Sending Gifts This Christmas? Here’s Our Handy Guide


Over the many years, Irish people have also moved to all four corners of the globe. We might love to visit all our family and friends over the Christmas period, but with the current restrictions and situation with Covid-19, unfortunately this will not be possible for a lot of people this year.

This is why so many people choose to send their friends and family those precious Christmas gifts and Irish Goodies by courier.

The run-up to Christmas is the busiest time of the year for sending parcels, so to help make sure your Christmas presents are posted and delivered on time, here’s our guide to Sending Gifts To Family & Friends This Christmas by courier.

1. Don’t Wait Until The Last Minute

This time of year is extremely busy for sending parcels, and especially this year with a lot of the travel restrictions still in place. Unfortunately this surge in deliveries can lead to delays, so your parcel may take a little longer than normal to get to it’s final destination. If you want to make sure your Christmas presents arrive in time, get them sent as early as you can. Hopefully they will not be tempted to have a sneaky look! If you’re a last-minute shopper, please be sure to check the final sending dates, and choose an express courier service.

2. Avoid The Post Office Queues

You can avoid those long queues at the Post Office in this cold and wet weather by booking a courier who will collect your parcel right from your door, while you sit back and relax with a cuppa. You can also choose a handy Local Drop-Off option, and drop your parcel off at a time and place that suits you, even at night or the weekend. A really handy option if you can’t wait in for the courier, or have some extra shopping to do. As an added bonus, you will save loads of money.

3. Pick Presents That Are Suitable For Sending

If you’re still choosing which gifts to send, try and pick gifts that will travel well and are easy to pack and are not restricted in the country you are sending them to. A number of items aren’t allowed to be sent with couriers (restricted and prohibited items) so make sure you don’t buy these items to send. If an item is restricted or prohibited, we suggest ordering it directly from the retailer and having it delivered directly to the receiver.

We do advise you check with the local customs websites to see if your items are prohibited or not. If you need any advice at all, Parcel Direct is a great resource for sending parcels all over the world.

4. Packing Your Christmas Presents

Packing is very important to ensure your Christmas gifts arrive in the same great way you sent them. Your parcel will be travelling for thousands of miles, along conveyor belts, and in and out of trucks and planes, so it is important to remember this when packing your parcel.

It can also be tempting to add some festive decorations to the outside of your parcel, but we’d advise against this. Tinsel, bows, ribbons etc, can get tangled up when the parcel is being processed by the couriers. If you want to decorate your parcel, we suggest using two boxes, and put your nicely decorated box in a larger plain box. Remember to use padding to protect your gift box.

Parcel Direct have created some great resources on their website and blog to help you with this

5. Sending Christmas Presents Abroad

If you’re sending Christmas presents abroad, there are some things you should remember. If the parcel is staying within the EU, then you won’t have to complete any extra paperwork, like commercial invoices.

If your Christmas presents are being sent outside the EU, then you will need to complete a commercial invoice and send 3 copies with your gifts. Completing this is easy with Parcel Direct, and will be completed as you make your booking online.

6. Sending Christmas Presents To The UK

This year will be so different for so many people sending gifts to the UK. Remember, the UK is no longer part of the EU, so sending your Christmas presents there make take longer than usual, as they will now have to pass through customs and require customs documentation. Completing this is easy with Parcel Direct.

7. Customs Clearance For Non EU Shipments

You’ll also need to check the different customs and import procedures and charges for each country. In most countries, there are no duties for gifts, but this is not always the case, so it’s best to find these out in advance, rather than leave the receiver of the gift with an unwanted bill.

If you still think you need some more advice on sending your Christmas presents to family and friends this year, Parcel Direct provide lots of great shipping advice on their website and blog pages and you can contact them through phone, email and messenger.

Helpful Tips For Sending Food Via Courier

Thinking of sending some Irish made food to your friends and family abroad? Nothing cures homesickness like a bunch of your favourite goodies from home, so we have put together list to help you ship your food safely and hassle-free.

When it comes to sending food abroad via courier, it is pretty straight forward, just remember the golden rule:

You can’t send any food items that are perishables (things that can go off or that can spoil during transit).

As long as you remember this you should be fine!

Things to Remember when Shipping Store Bought Food

  • Foods must be in the original packaging.
  • Foods must have a shelf life of longer than 6 months from the date of shipping.
  • Food labels must list all ingredients.
  • Food packaging must be sealed.
  • Any foods with a shelf life of less than 6 months will be deemed as perishables, and can’t be sent through our couriers, even if you bought it in a store. Check our Prohibited Pages for more info

Shipping Food Items

  • Don’t send food items that must be kept in specific temperatures as the couriers can’t provide temperature-controlled shipping and they will spoil by the time they reach their destination.
  • Make sure that the labels clearly display the ingredients and the Best Before Date because customs may need to check these when they arrive.
  • Always package your food items so that they can survive the parcel being placed upside down during transit, and always wrap each individual item with bubble wrap to ensure the best protection.
  • Check which foods are restricted or prohibited from being imported into the delivery country.

Christmas Hampers

Every year, more and more people send Christmas hampers to their loved ones. And at Parcel Direct we can see why! There’s nothing better than a taste of home to warm you up at Christmas.

As long as you remember the golden rule, sending Christmas Hampers should be simple! Alcohol and flammable liquids are prohibited items but give us a call before booking your parcel and we can assist.

Shipping Christmas Hampers

  • Don’t forget that chocolates can be affected by hot weather. Chocolate has a tendency to turn white if exposed to heat, so bear that in mind when shipping chocolates to hot countries.
  • Make sure to put plenty of layers of protection on the inside of the box too, this will ensure that the items don’t move around during transit.
  • Make sure to declare each individual item on your customs details. If you don’t do this, customs may have to open your parcel to see exactly what you shipped.
  • Feel free to gift wrap the hamper, but we can’t guarantee they will save the wrapping paper if they need to open the parcel for any reason.
  • Make sure all items inside the hamper are wrapped individually and cannot move around in the box, there should be no noise from the parcel if you shake it.
  • Once you have wrapped each item in bubble wrap, also wrap the hamper itself in bubble wrap, this will provide even more protection from any minor knocks or bumps that the parcel may take in transit.
  • Check if any of the goods you are sending are restricted or prohibited at the destination country, Parcel Direct provides a list of these which you can access when you are filling out your order or just click the link below.

Restricted Items

  • Be specific on your customs information when filling out your order.

Home-made Goods

A lot of the time, home-made and baked goods are classed as perishables as they do not contain the preservatives to stop them from spoiling in transit.

Any food items considered as perishables cannot be transported via courier, but we have still made a list of tips to help you get your loved one’s favourite home-made treats delivered to them.

Shipping Home-made Food:

  • Do not try to pass off your home-made food as store bought food as these will be stopped and disposed of, you may also face some penalties for attempting this.
  • As we have previously mentioned, make sure that you are able to send your goods by checking if any of the ingredients are restricted or prohibited at the destination country.
  • Although it is hard to send home-made food via courier, you could send them your recipe and they can try and re-create your masterpiece in their own kitchen.
  • You could send them any store-bought cake mixes and utensils to help them with their re-creation.
  • Any store bought sweets like chocolates, crisps, jellies etc can still be sent, so maybe you could send things from home that they cannot obtain where they are.

Customs Clearance for your Parcel

If your parcel is being shipped to a country within the EU, you will not have to worry about customs clearance, your parcel will go right through to delivery.

If you are sending your parcel to a country outside the EU, your parcel will be subjected to customs clearance and it will need a customs invoice to be cleared. When completing your order on Parcel Direct, we ask for the information so that we can generate the customs invoice for you and it will be sent to you with your shipping labels.

How to Make Sure You Have the Correct Information for Customs:

  • Remember to make sure you are very specific when declaring the contents of your parcel and try to refrain from using any “Slang” names that we may use here in Ireland as the customs officer may not use the same word. Our advice would be to use the name that is on the packaging.
  • Make sure to declare the true value of each item when filling out this information, this will help your parcel to breeze through the customs process.
  • When listing each item, make sure to include the manufacturer/brand name, this will help to describe exactly what you have sent.
  • Make sure your description is as detailed as possible Example: instead of simply saying “Chocolate bar” say “Dairy Milk Golden Crisp Chocolate bar”.
  • Customs may need to get in touch with the receiver in the destination country to get more information, make sure they are aware of this and make sure the delivery contact details are correct when filling out your order.
  • The receiver may be asked to provide an import license or may be asked to pay import tax to get this cleared, unfortunately, Parcel Direct cannot interfere with this and any charges will need to be paid to get your parcel cleared and delivered.

Have You Tried Our Customer Drop Off Service?

What Local Drop Off Services do Parcel Direct Offer?

Most of us are familiar with couriers these days, they deliver nearly all of our online orders. Couriers are also becoming increasingly popular for sending items, and with services like ours, couriers have become more widely available to the regular consumer. Courier collection is convenient but what if you cannot stay at home all day to wait for the courier? Parcel Direct has the perfect option for you!

With our local drop off, once you have dropped off your parcel, your courier arrives to collect it on the chosen collection date. The parcel then goes through the shipping process until it is delivered. There is a size restriction for the stores as they do not have the space to hold big parcels. Stores can take parcels that have these measurements or below: 40 cm x 40 cm x 50 cm.

We work with some of the most reliable and affordable couriers in the domestic and international courier business, and we work very hard to get as many drop off stores on our website as we can. We are constantly adding new stores, so if you know of a shop that you would like to see on Parcel Direct, let us know and we will take a look!

Our drop-off stores aren’t just for sending parcels, you can also get your own online orders delivered to your local drop off store. All you need to do is download our app on the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store and register for an account. Once you have selected your local store it will generate a Parcel Direct Local number which will start with “PDL”. Now you can get items delivered to this store by using your PDL number and the stores address when placing an order on online shops. This fantastic feature costs as little as €2 per parcel you get delivered.


How does it work?

  1. Securely package your item, We have a handy packing advise FAQ on our website that will help you with this.
  2. Weigh and measure your parcel.
  3. Go to
  4. Enter your shipping country, your delivery country and the parcel’s weight and measurements into Click Quote and Book.
  5. Your courier options will appear on the next screen, select I’ll Drop it Off” under whichever quote you would like to choose.
  6. You will see a map on the next screen, type in your street address and search. This will bring the map to your area, and it will show you the drop off stores in your area. Click on whichever drop off store you would like and click “Choose this Drop Off” under the map.
  7. Fill out the rest of the information where you will supply your delivery address and your return address. Declare the contents, pick your collection date and add Enhanced Protection if you would like insurance. We offer €20 cover free with every parcel.
  8. Next you will need to print some Parcel Direct customer drop-off labels and attach them to your parcel. Make sure the drop off code is clear for the store.
  9. You need to have your parcel in with the store by 9am on the day of your scheduled collection. We recommend that you drop it off the night before it is scheduled to be collected.
  10. The courier will come along and pick this up, you can use your tracking number to trace it every step of the way.

What Advantages Do Drop Off Stores Have?

  • It means you do not have to wait in home all day to meet the courier when you may have work or another commitment that you need to take care of.
  • Couriers will find it a lot easier to find a shop than your address if you live in a remote area of Ireland.
  • You can leave your parcel in the shop and know that it is safe and the courier will be able to get it.
  • Most of our drop-off stores are open late and 7 days a week so you can drop off or collect your parcel at any stage of the week.
  • There is no hassle, all you need to do is give your parcel with the label on it to the person at the shop till, and they will do the rest for you.
  • Most of our drop off stores are convenience stores and petrol stations which makes them easy to find and easily accessible.
  • It makes the courier driver’s day just a little bit easier! Instead of going house to house they can pick up multiple parcels at one address.

Shipping Advice: Lithium Batteries

What Are Lithium Batteries?

Lithium-ion batteries are increasingly popular in today’s world. You probably own 3 or 4 electronics that use lithium ion batteries. This type of battery can be found in small devices like your mobile phone or they can be found in your electric car.

What makes these batteries different from any other? Lithium batteries can be recharged, unlike alkaline AAs or similar. Lithium batteries generally output more power, this allows them to be able to power bigger and more complex devices.

Shipping lithium batteries can be dangerous, because if these highly flammable items are exposed to certain conditions, they have the potential to overheat and explode. Lithium fires cannot be put out, if a non-extinguishable fire happens on a cargo plane, a major disaster can take place.


Can You Ship Lithium Batteries?

You can ship lithium batteries but due to their dangerous nature, strict guidelines must be followed:

  1. The battery must remain in the device when being shipped.
  2. You can send a maximum of 1 lithium batteries per parcel.
  3. It is vital that the shipper also takes caution when shipping items of this nature. Any device with batteries that you are shipping must be turned off and the power button must be protected to ensure it does not accidentally activate. This can be done with use of electrical tape or cardboard.
  4. Always place your device inside a plastic bag. This prevents any static interference and serves as another layer of protection against an outbreak of fire.
  5. If the battery is faulty or damaged it cannot be sent. Damaged batteries are more unstable and it could result in the battery overheating and exploding. Sending a faulty battery is illegal and can result in a serious fine.

If you plan on shipping lithium batteries overseas then your shipment may be affected by the customs of the country you are sending to, so always contact customer support if you have doubts or questions.


Packaging Lithium Batteries For Shipping

Exactly like anything you send through a courier, it is important to make sure that you package your item properly to ensure that your shipment safely arrives to its destination. To keep your parcel safe during transport, you will need to package the electrical item that houses your battery sufficiently.

With all electrical items that contain a lithium battery, you must make sure that the device is turned off during transit. This is to prevent the battery from overheating and exploding.

Make sure your device will not power on at any stage of shipping. After a parcel is collected it is transferred to a depot where it is sorted and then it is put onto a van for delivery or to be taken to the local depot at the delivery destination. Your parcel will be traveling with thousands of other parcels of different shapes and sizes. During this process your parcel must be packaged in a way that it can withstand a drop or being knocked by other packages etc. Having a parcel that is packaged to this standard also ensures that your lithium battery will be safe during the shipping process.

What Devices Use Rechargeable Lithium Batteries?

  • Power tools
  • Cameras
  • Smartphones
  • Laptops
  • Electronic Cigarettes

This list shows only a small sample of the types of devices that may contain a lithium battery. If you are shipping something and you are not sure whether it contains a lithium power source, then check with the manufacturer; it’s your legal responsibility to specifically declare every item that you are exporting.


Shipping Laptops with Lithium Batteries

Laptops are one of the most common items that are shipped with Lithium batteries. It is important to make sure that your laptop is packaged up to the standards required, it should not be able to move in the box. This is how laptops and their batteries are damaged.