Christmas is the season of giving, which means it's also the season of shipping. The United States Postal Service sees a huge increase in shipments during the last months of the year. To meet that demand, the mail carrier has added Sunday deliveries for the month of December.
The USPS has seen some major changes in recent years thanks to the digital age that has us connected like never before.
"The internet has really impacted the postal service. The other side of the coin is on this part. It's really helped the postal service," said Postmaster Larry Delahunt.
He has seen the changes over the past 20 plus years. He said because of the internet, mail carrying is trending downward and the rate of parcel shipments is going up.
"We've had a tremendous increase in parcels over the last couple of years," said Delahunt.
This year, he expects to see a 15 to 20 percent increase in parcel shipments, and it's not just here on the Coast. It's happening nationwide.
Delahunt says it's good for business, but it does create a good deal of stress for the service. To help meet the demand, the postal service is delivering parcels on Sundays during December.
"We're trying to identify the areas that have heavier parcels and the larger areas, such as Gulfport," said Delahunt.
This isn't the first year for Sunday deliveries, but it is the first time the effort has been as widespread. Delahunt says it's not just Sundays that will see an extra shift.
"Monday through Saturday, you may see a carrier delivering packages as early as six, seven or eight o'clock in the morning to try to utilize our vehicles and then get them back for our regular carriers to use again," said Delahunt.
Although he and a reduced staff have to work on a day that they would normally have off, Delahunt says it's not a burden.
"Tis the season. We practice for this all year, and December's the month that the postal service likes to shine," said Delahunt.
According to Delahunt, there may be some rural areas that still don't see deliveries on Sundays. At this time, this extra delivery day will only last through December.