Santas dressed in blue

JUST IN TIME Mail carrier Edwin Natividad delivers a last minute Christmas gift on Cedar Court.

Twas the morning before Christmas and all over the Gilroy, Santas in blue brought presents and joy.

This Christmas Eve, 32 carriers and clerks with the United States Postal Service in Gilroy delivered over 3,000 packages – most of which, Christmas gifts ordered on Amazon – just in time to fulfill Christmas dreams. And on a Sunday to boot.

Lots of people are surprised to see USPS workers out on Sunday. A few years ago, the prevailing thought throughout the country was that the USPS would cutback to five days a week for delivery. Amazon changed all of that.

“It was a game changer,” said Gilroy Postmaster Max Janisch. “This is the first year that online sales have outpaced retail.”

A quick survey of the sorting room at the Gilroy Post Office, a sea of smiling packages bearing their trademark smirk from Amazon passes the eye test. Everything, down to toilet paper and dog food is ordered, is sent through the USPS. Rather than cut back on delivery, the USPS delivers packages from Amazon on Sunday.

“I’m actually on vacation, but I wanted to come in to help make the customers happy,” carrier Edwin Natividad said. “The time-and-a-half pay helps too.”

Natividad, a 30-year USPS carrier from Gilroy is nearing retirement. He’s a trainer at the Gilroy Post Office and also a familiar smiling face to the people on his route. He felt like Santa bringing those last gifts that help makes Christmas magical in thousands of Gilroy homes.

“On normal delivery days we get about six or seven truckloads a day,” Janisch, a Marine veteran from Dousman Wisconsin said. “During the holiday season, it’s up to 17 truckloads a day. We’ve never had so much. Never.”

Clerks came in at midnight last night to get started with the sorting and processing and starting at seven the carriers arrive and load up for the day. Fresh hires or non-career mail carriers usually perform Sunday delivery, but in December veteran mail carriers may volunteer to help tackle the influx of holiday packages. To help all the Mr. and Mrs. Clauses get home to their respective North Poles, 15 volunteers showed up to help.

“Safe, sane and Santa guys,” Janisch said during a morning pep talk. “There’s going to be a lot of kids out there today so drive careful and have a big smile on your faces.”

Natividad’s first delivery was for Allison Jordan on Cedar Court.  He’s been a familiar face on Cedar Court and this morning he brought Jordan a package of college t-shirts from her best friend at UC Riverside.

“It’s amazing; she said she had to have it and we didn’t think it would get here before Christmas,” Angela Jordan, the Gavilan student’s mom said. “We’re really going to miss this guy.”

Well, maybe Allison’s gift will come on the next truck. They’ll be coming in all day.

“Hey, wait a second – it’s for you,” Allison said, noticing the package was meant for Angela.