Crowds fill Columbia post office on holiday \"game day\"

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COLUMBIA - Postal workers in Santa hats helped move people along a crowded but fast-moving line at the Walnut Street location on the Post Office's busiest mailing day of the year.

Post Master Mark Rask said the post office was ready ahead of time for the busy day.

"We're prepared, we're making sure our customers are taken care of, the hustle bustle today in the lobby," Rask said. "We got a full staff and we have folks in the lobby to help expedite it."

Rask said more than 600 million cards are expected to be processed Monday all around the United States.

"We're seeing an increase today, the lines have been nonstop, people out the door, people have been moving them through as quickly as they can," Rask said. "People are trying to get their letters out into the mail and their packages to their loved ones, if it's overseas or stateside."

Columbia resident Maria Gonzalez took part in the busy mailing day. Her holiday package was sent to a friend in the Lake of the Ozarks. She said, despite the increase of people, she was in and out of the post office quickly.

"I have an even bigger peace of mind knowing that it was so fast, so I'm not worried at all," Gonzalez said. "It's definitely one less thing to worry about this holiday season."

Rask said, between this week and next, the Columbia post office will deliver around one million cards and letters, along with 130-140 thousand packages.

"They range from big packages weighing up to 70 pounds to small packages," Rask said. "It's been exciting, this is our time of the year, this is where we shine, this is our game day."

To get holiday packages to loved ones on time, Rask recommends getting them in the mail no later than Saturday. However, for those last minute shoppers, the post office does offer express mail on Christmas Eve.