I've seen and heard the warnings: Packages are delayed.
The warnings are on the U.S. Postal Service website, on my informed delivery emails and repeated by workers at the local post offices. No matter what you pay for, your package just may not make it on time.
The USPS is dealing with an unprecedented volume of packages being shipped, both essential supplies and Christmas packages alike, and employees are also dealing with coronavirus protocols and quarantines themselves, which makes sorting and delivery logistics that much more chaotic.
I knew all of these things but when I found out on the Friday before Christmas my sister wasn't able to make it this year, I panicked slightly. I should have just sent the packages two weeks ago, even before she'd made that decision, but I was busy being hopeful she could still come.
So I hurriedly packaged my gifts for my sister and her fiance, and made it to the post office the following day. The line wasn't terrible, and seemed to be moving well. I paid $30 for two-day priority shipping, even with the caveat that it may not make it in time. But I'm stubborn and I wanted to try. The package is only going to Chicago, a stone's throw from Fort Wayne, so I'm hopeful.
Now I'm obsessively checking the tracker to see where my package has been checked in at, and I'll continue to do so until I know my gifts are safely tucked under their tree. It reminds me of kids checking the NORAD Santa tracker on Christmas Eve.
Even if my gifts don't arrive in time, I'm still grateful for such dedicated employees doing their best to keep Christmas alive for the millions of families who won't be able to get together this year.
Whether a package arrives by Christmas Eve or not, these little packages of joy are so important to send, just the same.