It was a long weekend for many folks getting ready to ship Monday. Carolyn Kirksey was at the Post Office three times over the weekend.
"The staff here have been so pleasant -- they're like my family now, because they've seen come with packages, they're helping me with tape. It's been great just to be finished," said Kirksey.
Kevin Smith's priority Monday was getting the gifts to his family and his in-laws.
"You saw I almost left the line... because it was too late -- I got a 12:00 meeting to get to. That's OK -- the meeting will wait," said Smith.
It's no wonder that this will be the busiest shipping day for the US Postal Service.
"The busiest mailing day of the year is always a Monday, because it's right after the weekend, when everybody has done their shopping, and it's usually the last Monday or so before Christmas, because that's when people finally decide that it's time to spring into action," said Mark Reynolds of the United States Postal Service.
Adding to the shipping frenzy: all those items ordered online. Free shipping offers are sure to lure in last minute gift givers and put more on the conveyor belts at UPS's hub in Hodgkins.
"It's very busy; today, we plan on processing about 2.5 million packages, and on a normal day we process 1.5 million packages," said Tyrone Williams of UPS on Monday.
Best friends from Buffalo Grove had a huge shipment to get out Monday. They chose six families' letters asking for helping through the Post Office's Operation Santa program. The friends say they enlisted the helping of their kids to shop and wrap gifts for the families.
While the women celebrate Hanukah, this year they are making Christmas possible for some local families in need.
"It's always better to give than to receive. It's just very heart warming, and the letters are very hard to read. I just wanted to help," said Jill Katz.
"This is what the holidays are all about, really. Gift giving for people. The letters are just heartbreaking and you want to touch the lives of other kids that are waiting for Santa," said Traci Jacobs.
People interested in Operation Santa can pick up a letter and drop off gifts by Saturday.
Monday was the Christmas deadline for the least expensive FedEx shipping option, FedEx Ground shipping. For UPS ground shipping 3 Day Select, that deadline is Wednesday. For the U.S. Postal Service, the first class mail shipping deadline is Thursday.