If there’s anyone busier than Santa and his elves at Christmas, it’s the UK’s army of postmen and women, currently limbering up to deliver festive cheer to the nation.

[Read more: Where do you hide yours? Top 10 places used to keep Christmas gifts from prying eyes]

For those who actually post the annual cards, round-robin letters, cheesy family snaps and carefully chosen presents, there’s a potential minefield of misaddressed envelopes and un-sellotaped boxes – not to mention missed last dates for posting.

The Royal Mail’s spokesperson says: “As we do every year, we encourage people to post and order presents early to help us spread the festive workload. The postcode is never more vital at this time of year and we would encourage everyone to use it on their cards and parcels.”

On average, the Royal Mail handles 115 million parcels and delivers 10 million parcels on their busiest day, so to make sure yours is one that gets there OK, remember this official Royal Mail advice…

Tips for sending parcels at Christmas

- If you’re sending Christmas presents, remember to package them carefully. It’s a good idea to pop the gift into a box and then to place bubble wrap either side to keep it secure. 

- Make sure the box is properly closed; you can always use sticky tape on the lid to be sure.

- Remember to write the full address and postcode and don’t forget to put your address on the back just in case Royal Mail is unable to deliver it. Make sure you pay for the full postage too.

- Royal Mail adheres to guidelines set by the Civil Aviation Authority which means there are some restrictions on what can be sent abroad. This includes aerosols (such as deodorants, body spray, hair sprays, etc) perfumes and aftershaves, nail varnish and lithium batteries not installed in a device, which cannot be sent internationally. Alcohol over 24% ABV is also prohibited.