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Holiday rush for packages, cards is on for postal workers

Letters are sorted into different bins at the downtown Cedar Rapids Post Office on Wednesday,...
Letters are sorted into different bins at the downtown Cedar Rapids Post Office on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019 (Brian Tabick/KCRG)(KCRG)
Published: Dec. 4, 2019 at 9:12 PM CST
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If Santa gets all of the credit for making Christmas go off without a hitch, then his elves must be the ones keeping busy at the post office.

The United States Postal Service said the busiest time of year is between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day where it sees about 13 billion total pieces of mail and packages nationwide. That's three times the normal amount of mail for the entire rest of the year.

“It’s indescribable how many packages we get,” Nick Crawford, a postal worker at the Cedar Rapids Post Office, said. “You wouldn’t believe we’d get it done, but we do.”

This is Crawford’s 32nd Christmas season at the Post Office. Each week, he and his co-workers will go through at least 200,000 packages and 2 million letters.

“It just keeps getting worse every year,” Crawford said. “The internet is now why we’re so busy. People are ordering a lot of stuff and then turning around and sending it back. We will probably see most of this stuff twice.”

With a 2.5 percent unemployment rate in Linn County, those with the post office said it isn’t easy to find the holiday help they need.

“Many of the workers are already working 12 hours days, but we’ll clear what we need to clear every night,” Crawford said.

Eric Tye, Cedar Rapids Post Office Plant Manager, said usually the largest number would start next week, but because the shopping season is a full week shorter the holiday mail rush is already starting.

“People are mailing the Christmas cards out like crazy,” Tye said. “We’re ramping up earlier this year.”

Despite workers getting extra hours and a lack of help, Tye believes Crawford and the other employees will make sure every package and letter gets where it needs to be.

“Make sure everything is correct on your package this time of year,” Crawford said. “That way if we need to return your mail for any reason we can.”

To ensure your mail makes it to the right place by Christmas, Tye said people should try to have it mailed by next week. Extended hours for the post office start on Sunday.