LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Christmas inches closer and Santa’s helpers at the United States Postal Service are hard at work to deliver the holidays to everyone.

Mike Hart, Manager of Processing and Distribution at USPS in Central Arkansas, said Wednesday night is one of the busiest nights for USPS other than the week leading up to Christmas.

“We’re ready,” he said. “We’re ready to make sure we deliver the holidays.”

Hart said his team at USPS has been preparing since January of this year.

Hart said it’s his 40th Christmas at USPS and he will spend the night at the processing center until about 3 AM, working alongside about 250 other employees to make sure letters and packages get out on time.

“We will put out about 1.2 million letters tomorrow… a lot of those are Christmas cards,” he said. “We’re going do about 113-120,000 packages.”

Hart said that, while it takes a lot of hands to make it all happen, they really rely on machines.

“I think people would be surprised at how automated the system is,” he said. “There’s very few human hands that touch it once it’s delivered.”

He said the machines are encoding about 22,000 pieces of mail per hour, dividing it all up to determine where it will go.

Hart said every letter and package has a specific place, and everyone knows exactly where everything goes.

“We get a lot of kids that mail to Santa Claus,” Hart said.

USPS sponsors an ‘Operation Santa’ program that also gets letters in response to kids from the ‘North Pole.’

Hart said while you wait to get your Christmas cards and gifts, rest assured that those at the processing center are working on your behalf.

Many people will utilize express shipping before the holidays to get their packages and letters home in time. Hart said you have until December 23 to send through priority mail for it to get to the right place by Christmas day.

“We have a lot of dedicated employees – about 600 dedicated employees – excited to deliver the holidays,” Hart said.