KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Postmaster Patrick Campbell said Monday marked the busiest mailing day of the season for the U.S. Postal Service. He said that means next Monday, Dec. 20, will be one of the busiest delivery days.

According to mail carrier Johnny Boles everything between now and Monday is “organized chaos.”

“Counting small and big, I’ll have over three hundred-fifty packages, scans, today,” Boles said. “I started at six this morning, and I’ll work probably until six or seven tonight or until we get finished.”

He spent hours scanning and organizing his packages, figuring out a plan for his day.

“Everything was a little late this morning, so we weren’t exactly sure what the day was going to look like and all the sudden everything just arrived,” Boles said.

The mail carrier decided to break it up into two trips.

“Obviously, not all of this is going to fit in the truck, so I’m going to stage this here and come back and get it later today,” he said.

It’s all just a sliver of the 850-to-950 million packages nationwide the Postal Service expects to deliver this holiday season.

Boles said while the holiday season is hectic, he explained it’s been busier ever since the pandemic started.

“Our hours have been ten-to-twelve hours a day for the last year and a half,” he said. “Everything that they just used to go to the store and get, now the carriers bring them.”

As Knoxville mail carriers work around the clock to make sure gifts get to their final destination, Boles said it’s the community and their tiniest customers that are their motivation.

“When those kids come out and they know that that package got delivered and that we’re helping Santa get those packages under the tree, that’s what makes it, makes this time of year good for us,” he said.

Boles and Campbell ensure the Postal Service is doing all they can to get packages to their destinations in time for Christmas.

“They’re working long hours, they’re doing whatever that takes, whether it’s coming in at six in the morning and sometimes staying until seven, eight, nine o’clock at night just to make sure that everything that needs to get delivered gets delivered,” said Postmaster Campbell.

Both men asked if you are expecting a delivery over this holiday week to please keep the porch lights on and make sure pets are inside.

The deadline for nationwide ground shipping is Wednesday, Dec. 15. The deadline for first class mail is Dec. 17. The deadline for priority mail will be Dec. 18.

Campbell said there may be more wiggle room for deliveries that are staying local.

Boles also serves as an instructor for the USPS Academy in Knoxville. He encouraged people to apply to be a mail carrier here.