Nunavut's busiest post office got a few extra helpers this holiday season, as Iqaluimmiut came out in droves this year to get Christmas gifts on and off Baffin Island.
Since November, the staff at the Iqaluit post office have worked overtime on Thursdays and Fridays, along with Saturday shifts, to deal with the increased volume.
Canada Post also hired seven seasonal employees and brought in a temporary postmaster for the holidays since the position is vacant.
"The staff have been coming in before work, they're coming in after work. They're cutting their lunch breaks in half and we have extra staff coming in," said Denise Eccles, the acting postmaster.
"We just feel like we have our own children waiting to open their gifts, and we're Santa."
The effort hasn't gone unnoticed by customers.
"The service has been great. Most years you have it in your mind that it's almost a writeoff around Christmastime," said Iqaluit resident Andy Burns, adding the service this Christmas has been the best in 10 years.
"For them to pay attention to our needs is really appreciated."
Edith Sweetwater, another customer, found the wait times were shorter the week before Christmas than previously.
"I think they stepped it up this week. It's so great."
'A significant increase'
Canada Post says they normally serve between 150 and 300 customers per day at the Iqaluit post office, but since mid-November the volume has skyrocketed up to 1,000 customers per day.
"It's a significant increase," said Eugene Knapik a spokesperson for Canada Post. "It was pretty clear we had significantly more than usual volumes, particularly with parcels coming in, and we wanted to be sure we could accommodate that."
The post office has often been criticized for slow wait times – often between 20 to 45 minutes – throughout the year. There's no home delivery in Nunavut's capital and everyone has to wait in line to pick up parcels.
Canada Post audited the post office box system in Iqaluit this summer, trying to find ways to alleviate the high number of deserted boxes, which left those unable to get a box forced to get mail through general delivery.