An inside look at how your holiday packages get to your doorstep

SUSQUEHANNA TOWNSHIP, Pa. - If you've ever wondered how those holiday packages get to your home from the U.S. Postal Service, chances are they go through a processing and distribution center like the one in the Harrisburg area.

“We love this time of the year,” said Howard Patterson, the acting senior manager of the Harrisburg processing and distribution center for the U.S. Postal Service. “We deliver smiles. My employees are dedicated to make sure the parcel makes the last mile and makes it to the customer.”

The PDC in the Harrisburg area and another one like it in the Lancaster area handle the mail for central Pennsylvania. 3 million packages will be processed through the Harrisburg facility this holiday season.

“We make sure that this time of the year, we shine,” said Patterson. “After Cyber Monday, we're looking at a 10% increase in parcels, maybe beyond that, but it's all about getting the parcels home to the customers and putting smiles on their faces.”

Winter weather can make an impact on whether mail arrives in a timely fashion.

“It's very much the same with mail,” said Karen Mazurkiewick of the U.S. Postal Service. “We move it through the air, so a snow storm or bad weather in any part of the country can make a problem for mail getting around, so if something is going across the country, get it in the mail early.”

What was once a two-week crush of mail has now spread out over a two-month period, officials said, partially due to the rise of online commerce.

“We'll see them right through the holiday, and then right after the holiday returns, so it's just a full cycle of craziness, but it's all good because it means a lot of holiday presents and wishes being delivered to our customers,” Mazurkiewicz said.