Mailing presents to loved ones may be the easiest way to send holiday cheer during the pandemic and with Christmas less than two weeks away, shipping experts say don't wait until the last minute to put the packages in the mail.
Bob Scanlan, owner of the Box Shop in Lompoc, says that shipping trends have shifted this year.
"[Customers] are ordering online through a variety of different outlets so UPS, FedEx, and the U.S. Postal Service are extremely busy delivering what you would normally go to the store and buy," Scanlan said.
Some community members are trying to avoid the mad dash.
Package sender and San Luis Obispo County resident, Amy Albinus says she is not waiting until the last minute to do her shipping this year.
"I am currently mailing some early Christmas gifts to my friend that lives in Colorado. [I am] definitely just trying to get them out because I know shipping has been really crazy lately," said Albinus.
According to UPS, they expect this holiday season to be the busiest in UPS history; in December alone, UPS anticipates delivering 585 million packages.
"I would recommend getting them sent by the 18th of December; after that it will be crazy," said Scanlan.
Some say online shopping has been backed up too.
"It's been a little bit difficult - I found some items I thought were really good ideas, and when I went to ship them, they said they wouldn't arrive till the middle of January," said SLO county resident, Travic Nefores.
Frances Jackson of Cambria says her family is not worried about getting gifts delivered right on time.
"I feel like with COVID in particular you have to be really flexible and understanding, so we are trying to shop local this year and then just ship things [ourselves]; when my family gets it, they get it," Jackson said.
The USPS posted the following Holiday deadlines:
2020 Ship Dates for Contiguous United States (Lower 48 States)
Recommended send-by dates for expected delivery before December 25
USPS Retail Ground Service: December 15th
First Class Mail Service: December 18th
Priority Mail Service: December 19th
Priority Mail Express Service: December 23rd
FedEx also recommends December 15th for ground delivery.