Noel deliveries end post office’s rush
Postal clerk Steve Denmark and others at the De Soto Post Office can now think about taking time off for the holidays -- something that was out of the question before Christmas.
Last week, Denmark was dealing with the last of the U.S. Postal Service's annual Christmas rush. It keeps him busy with customers coming to the front counters and following up with back-office details.
Despite the workload, Denmark said he enjoyed the busy days.
"It's enjoyable really," he said. "You get to see people and see what they are mailing. It's kind of fun."
Interim postmaster Mike Mori said the U.S. Postal Service's annual Christmas crunch started in early November with Christmas catalogs, but really picked up after Thanksgiving. The rush hits its peak the last week before Christmas.
"Our maximum acceptance days are Dec. 18 and 19," Mori said. "Our biggest delivery days are Friday and Saturday."
Local mail carriers Jeff Gabel, Doug Elder, Nick Duncan, Patty Campos and Jill Moler handled between 400 and 500 total packages those days, Mori said.
"Each one does 60 to 70 apiece if not more," Mori said. "It's not Santa Claus or magic elves -- not that we wouldn't accept any help from magic elves, but they haven't offered yet."
Denmark and Mori's Christmas schedules didn't end Saturday. They came in Sunday and again on Christmas morning to delivery express and priority mail or anything that showed up on those mornings that looked like it might be a Christmas present.
"We know it's really the most time-sensitive day of the year," he said. "We do whatever we can to get possible Christmas gifts delivered."
Denmark said he didn't mind the few extra hours on Christmas Eve and Christmas.
"It's no problem at all," he said. "We usually get it done early in the morning. It's a half-hour or hour's worth of work. De Soto's not too busy or big so it doesn't take that long."
The Christmas boom over, the employees at the De Soto Post Office will enter into a slow period before mail picks up again with the distribution of next spring's catalogs, Mori said.