If your Christmas presents don't arrive in the mail before Christmas this year, relax. If we only knew what is going on behind the scenes at post offices all over the country, we may have a little more compassion and grace for a few gifts being late.

The United States Postal Service workers are some of the frontline workers who have gone through some serious struggles in 2020. Things haven't been any easier now that it's the holiday season. Cases of COVID-19 are spiking in its workforce and on top of that, unprecedented online retail orders have become overwhelming.

Nearly 19,000 of the agency’s 644,000 workers are under quarantine after testing positive for the virus or after a close exposure, according to the American Postal Workers Union. There's still work that must be done though and packages to be attended to - actually, there's more work than ever! Retail analysts say that "more than two years of e-commerce sales growth were crammed into 2020" from the beginning of the pandemic until now.

December 12th marks the start of the Postal Service's busiest time of the year for any year, however 2020 showed a 14 percent increase in parcel volume compared to the same period in 2019. On top of that, on-time delivery rates have dropped with only 75.3% of first-class mail, such as letters and bills, arriving within the standard one- to three-day delivery window at the beginning of the month, according to MSN. Last year, that percentage was closer to 95%.

In conclusion, your Christmas gifts may not arrive on time which is understandable. Depending on when your order was placed, it would be almost commendable if your packages do arrive on time! The reality of this is also that while millions of gifts and greeting cards won't be delivered when expected,  other more essential items, like prescription medications and bills may also not be arriving on time.

The holidays are supposed to be a time when we open our hearts. Let's open ours to our local postal service workers here in the Treasure Valley who have gone above and beyond to deliver everything we've need throughout the year to our doorsteps.

LOOK: Just some of the photos that capture the historic year that was 2020


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