The United States Postal Service is expecting significant volume increases this holiday season.
Regional spokesperson Ray Daiutolo Sr. explained mail volumes already picked up this week and will be even greater next week.
"It's going to be totally different from past years," said Daiutolo.
There was a long line at the Kingsessing Station post office on Wednesday morning.
"When you combine COVID and the holidays, I'm amazed anything gets anywhere," exclaimed Katie McCaffrey of Southwest Philadelphia.
McCaffrey has an Etsy store, 'earlgreyhandmade' and has been busy with shipments.
"I am leaving a little bit of time. I'm contacting my customers ahead of time. Prior to purchase, there's a little message in there, but it is extremely difficult," McCaffrey said.
Yvonne McKethan of Southwest Philadelphia said this year she's shipping packages for a Secret Santa exchange, for loved ones she would normally see in person.
"I just mailed out some letters. I already mailed out some packages. I've got some more packages to send out," McKethan ticked down her list of seasonal to-do's.
Daiutolo said, "We're seeing more and more people are actually shopping online rather than getting in line, so volumes are increasing significantly."
The USPS has hired temporary employees to help get them through this next several weeks, as is typical during the holiday season.
Since March, postal workers have seen a boost in parcels.
Daiutolo continued, "Since March we've seen a very, very significant increase in parcel volume, so we've had to prepare for that unexpected jump in volume early."
So ship early.
The USPS has a list of recommended mailing deadlines for expected delivery by Christmas.
2020 Holiday Shipping Deadlines
The Postal Service recommends the following mailing and shipping deadlines for expected delivery by Dec. 25 to Air/Army Post Office/Fleet Post Office/Diplomatic Post Office and domestic addresses*:
Dec. 9 - APO/FPO/DPO (ZIP Code 093 only) Priority Mail and First-Class Mail services
Dec. 11 - APO/FPO/DPO (all other ZIP Codes) Priority Mail and First-Class Mail services
Dec. 15 - USPS Retail Ground service
Dec. 18 - APO/FPO/DPO (except ZIP Code 093) USPS Priority Mail Express service
Dec. 18 - First-Class Mail service (including greeting cards)
Dec. 18 - First-Class packages (up to 15.99 ounces)
Dec. 19 - Priority Mail service
Dec. 23 - Priority Mail Express* service