NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - This is the busiest week of the year for the U.S. Postal Service, as they work overtime to make sure everything arrives in time for Christmas.
"It will be good to get everything delivered where it needs to go," said Ken Ruffing, who's been a mail carrier with USPS for 36 years. "I enjoy the one-on-one with the customers a lot. That seems to be where I find my fulfillment."
He knows his job takes on special importance during the holidays when he plays a key role in getting gifts under the tree for so many families.
"There is pressure just to get it done in time," Ruffing said. "And the parcels the last few years have really intensified."
Last holiday season, USPS delivered a record 1.1 billion packages.
"Last year, we were caught a little off guard," said Albert Ruiz, a strategic communications specialist for USPS. "Normally, we start in the summer planning for our peak season. So this year, we actually began in February and March."
To keep up with the demand, the postal service also hired more than 600 seasonal workers for the Dallas-Fort Worth area alone. They fill a variety of roles, from letter carriers to mail processing clerks.
"We're ready this year more than ever to be able to deliver this Christmas," Ruiz said.
Things likely won't slow down for letter carriers like Ruffing until after January, so he'll continue logging miles on his Dallas route to deliver everything he's responsible for.
"I just want the customers to be happy," he said.
Tomorrow is the last day to send a package by USPS Ground Service to ensure delivery by Christmas. For First Class letters and packages, that deadline is Friday, Dec. 17th.
You have until Dec. 23rd for Priority Express Mail, but you'll be paying quite a bit more.
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