To send a parcel under 2kg (Päckchen) costs € 7,20 and is just like sending a letter. To send any parcel over 2kg (Paket) one must complete a simple yellow form detailing the sender´s address and the name and address of the recipient. Prices range from DM11 to DM17.
Sending parcels abroad
For small parcels under 2kg a green Customs sticker (Zollzettel) must be completed stating the contents of the parcel and their value, and whether or not the contents are a gift (Geshenk). It will set you back DM15 if you're sending within Europe and DM19 worldwide. Sending packages over 2kg requires the completion of two rather complicated forms. If you don´t speak good German you´d better hope for a telepathic post office assistant. Prices depend on the weight (up to 20kg) and the destination. (A 20kg parcel sent worldwide would cost DM176,50.) If you are in the business of transporting aircraft parts, other arrangements may have to be made.
Check how long in advance you need to send your package, especially at Christmas. The Deutsche Post offer several different services depending on how much you want to pay and how quick you want it to get there.
Parcels in general
To aid the process of wrapping your package, the Deutsche Post sells PackSets - strong, self assembly boxes that come in five sizes. Each comes with everything you need to tape it up and send it off so you don't have to bring your sellotape and scissors to the post office.
If you can, make your package as small as possible i.e. don't put a pair of underpants in a PackSet box. The dimensions of the package also affect the price.
Books and printed material are much cheaper to send than other things. Remember to leave your parcel open before going to the counter as the assistant often wants to check the contents to make sure that you're not trying to cheat the system.