FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- It is the most wonderful and busiest time of the year at the post office.
"I want to beat the rush, I don't want to have to wait until the last minute and be stressing out about it," said Mariah Austin.
Customers went out to mail their Christmas gifts on December 14th, the first major deadline for the U.S. Postal Service.
Postmaster Doug Smith says this is a crazy time of year for employees.
"They start at 4 am right now. They're out making deliveries. We have people making deliveries at 4:30 a.m. We're trying to get them all off the streets by 6:00 p.m. at night right now," said Smith.
This year consumers spent a record amount and many of those online orders have been shipped around the country.
The Post Office says they are seeing a 10 percent increase in mail this year.
"Between Thanksgiving and New Year's nationally we will deliver 850 packages. We'll deliver 200 million this week and 200 million next week," said Smith.
Carriers like Siobhan Ruiz say there are perks helping Santa.
"It's kind of like you're Santa Claus. Everyone's excited. Kids are excited even though they can't open it yet," said Mail Carrier Siobhan Ruiz.
Carriers could be delivering gifts up until Christmas Eve because of the postal rush.
The Postal Official says December 20 is the recommended last day you send out those packages. They say December 22 is the last day if you want it to arrive before Santa.
Send-by dates for expected delivery before Dec. 25th (Actual delivery date may vary and is based on origin, destination, Post Office acceptance time, and other conditions).
December 14 - USPS Retail Ground
December 19 - First-Class Mail
December 20 - Priority Mail
December 22 - Priority Mail Express
Holiday 2017 mailing and shipping deadlines