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Delivery Deadlines: A special 3News behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to get your holiday shipments to you on time

The postal service anticipates up to 950 million packages will be delivered this holiday season. More than 12 billion letters, cards, and boxes will be sent out.

CLEVELAND — The race is on to make sure all those gifts you ordered for the holidays make it to you on time.

3News got a rare look at the work that makes it all happen behind the scenes.

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” USPS Mail Carrier, Diana Bilek said.

It’s a special kind of jingle Bilek and her colleagues hear during the holidays: The sound of more package scans.

“I have like 385 deliveries [today], yeah,” Bilek said.

This time of year, Bilek’s job feels almost a double duty.

“I position these in the truck based according to how I deliver,” Bilek described to 3News while gearing for deliveries Tuesday.

Over 300,000 USPS mail carriers are putting a pep in their step to deliver your daily mail, and millions of packages.

“The packages are immense,” Bilek said. “Yesterday, I had 120 packages I had to deliver. Me, alone, on my own route along with the rest of the mail as well.”

The postal service anticipates up to 950 million packages will be delivered for the 2021 holiday season. More than 12 billion letters, cards, and boxes will be processed and shipped out.

“Everyone is ordering online. I would too, I’m not a shopper,” Bilek said.

Bilek is a 14-year USPS mail carrier, telling 3News she prefers to deliver house-by-house on foot.

“I like the exercise,” Bilek said. “I talk pride in my job. Even if I have a lot more parcels, I just kick it up a gear. At the end of the day, it's all gone, and we did it again. Through rain, sleet, or snow, we're there for you.”

RELATED: USPS, FedEx, UPS announce 2021 holiday shipping deadlines

USPS 2021 holiday shipping deadlines

  • Dec. 17 — First-Class Mail service (including greeting cards)
  • Dec. 17 — First-class packages (up to 15.99 ounces)
  • Dec. 18 — Priority Mail service
  • Dec. 23 — Priority Mail Express service

FedEx also recently announced its Christmas deadlines, with options to ship packages up until Christmas Eve for delivery by Dec. 25.  

FedEx 2021 Holiday Shipping Deadlines

  • FedEx Ground Economy - Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021
  • FedEx Ground - Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021
  • Home Delivery - Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021
  • Express Saver - Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2021
  • 2Day & 2Day AM  - Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2021
  • Overnight Services - Thursday, Dec. 23, 2021
  • FedEx Same Day - Friday, Dec. 24, 2021

UPS 2021 Holiday Shipping Deadlines

These are the recommended last days to ship something within the U.S. using UPS for delivery by Christmas Eve. 

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