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A little help for the real Santas

Each year, more and more people look to online shopping to cross off items on their lists. Throw in a pandemic and Cyber Monday and the real Santa Clauses—the men and women driving the delivery trucks—have their work cut out for them ahead of the busiest time of year. As the daughter of a 30-year mail veteran, I’ve seen firsthand many years how chaotic the holidays can be. Here are some helpful measures you can take to ensure your package makes it to you safely, wrapped, and placed under the tree on time.

• Be sure your holiday decor isn’t covering up your house number. (Actually, this a tip we should be mindful of year-round. Your house number should be easily visible all the time to ensure emergency personnel can find you in moments that matter, but I digress.) Most delivery services are hiring seasonal help, so there’s a good chance that your packages are being delivered by someone unfamiliar with the route.

Further, don’t paint your house number the same color as your house. If you do, your house number becomes virtually impossible to see. If your house is darker in color, use light colored numbers and, vice versa, if your house is a lighter color, use dark colored numbers.

• Secure your pets when letting them out, and try not to give them access to the porch or door where your delivery will be left. While our homes are first, foremost, and always the place for our pets, this time of year has delivery drivers making walk-up visits to an unusually large quantity of houses for packages—and even the most experienced couriers might find it unnerving to be met by a dog who is growling and/or barking.

Most importantly in terms of pets, if you have a fur baby that chews or is otherwise destructive, be mindful of that and help your delivery person out by creating a safe place for your packages. A good idea might be a storage container with a lid. If you choose to use this suggestion, label the container and put it in a place easy to reach for your courier but out of reach for your pet, then communicate this plan to your deliverer. Lastly, choose something dark so that valuable packages won’t be recognized easily and possibly stolen.

• If you see on the tracking that a package is “out for delivery,” please understand it may be delivered after dark before your courier reaches you with it. An added touch of niceness? Leave on a porch light and try to be informed about what your courier is driving.

• Finally, just be patient. Couriers were already seeing unprecedented volumes of mail because of the pandemic and a large shift in online shopping for everyday items. In addition to that, many stores and retailers are seeing a continued strain on availability of many goods. While there’s always a bad apple in every bunch no matter the profession, couriers, for the most part, despite the long hours and increased volume, enjoy playing a small part in helping share the joy of Christmas giving and receiving.

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