Brenda Piana has been delivering mail to the same Sun City route for the last 21 years, but every holiday season, she is always surprised to see the number of packages and letters residents receive.

“It’s a lot more fun, but I have fun any day,” Piana said of holiday deliveries. The mood seems to brighten for everyone around the holidays, she said.

Wednesday was expected to be the biggest delivery day for the Postal Service across the country, making sure that those last-minute gifts make it on time for Christmas on Saturday.

But Piana said that she thought Monday was a busier day for the Sun City location. She had three bins full of packages to deliver Monday, but only one Wednesday.

Nationwide, the volume of postal deliveries is lower than this time last year, officials said.

In 2009, the busiest mailing day was expected to bring about 830 million pieces of mail, but the USPS expected about 800 million pieces this year. For the entire holiday season, ranging from the day after Thanksgiving until Christmas, the USPS expects to deliver a total of about 16 billion pieces of mail this year, compared to 16.6 billion pieces last year.

The Sun City Post Office, however, delivered about 30,000 more pieces of mail to customers Wednesday compared to the same time last year; the total pieces of mail delivered Wednesday was almost 150,000, said USPS spokesman Peter Hass.

It takes Piana about six hours to complete her route, but it gets more difficult when delivering a large volume of packages.

“You have to stop and think, ‘OK, do I have any packages for this street?’” Piana said. “Usually, inevitably there’s one you miss that you gotta go back for.”

Piana said she loves her job. She has been working for the postal service for 30 years and enjoys getting to know the people in her delivery area.

“They all know me. I’m like their daughter,” Piana said of the residents along her route, although she moved into Sun City herself about four years ago.

During the holidays, Piana said she often receives much appreciated cookies or candy from residents, which is fairly common for many of her fellow employees.

“We all share them, too,” Piana said of the treats because it adds to the holiday cheer.

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