Sorted: How the Royal Mail is delivering for Christmas
Thousands of parcels on their way to homes across Aberdeen on busiest day of the year.
By Laura Alderman
On an average day, staff at the Royal Mail sorting office in Aberdeen sift through and deliver 4500 packages.
But as they started work at 5am on Wednesday morning, they had more than double that total to deal with.
More than 700,000 letters, cards and parcels will make their way from the office to homes in the city during the festive period.
The Aberdeen Depot is the largest in the north east of Scotland, and this year they've nearly doubled their staff from 120 to 220 to handle the extra workload.
STV News visited the sorting office on its busiest day of the year as staff made sure there would be no disappointed faces on Christmas morning.
But one thing that does have to be delayed is the posties' Christmas party.
Delivery office manager Susan Ramsay said: "When everyone else is out having their Christmas parties and so on, posties are out on the frontline, they're working right up to Christmas day.
"After that we wind down, so a lot of us have our own parties after Christmas.
"I would still encourage people to post early for Christmas.
"The last date for posting First Class is the 20th and the 18th for Second Class, but the earlier you post it the better and easier it makes it for the network.
"Every part of the pipeline is just as important, from the collection to the delivery and all the processes in between."
Those who wrote and posted a letter to Santa through the Royal Mail won't have to wait much longer for their reply from the North Pole, with those expected to arrive shortly.
Although, staff at this depot have seen a decline in the amount of letters posted over the years, they've seen a steep rise in online shopping and international parcels .
Julie Pirone from the Royal Mail said: "I've been out to our depots this morning and they're full of red Christmas cards.
"People still like to receive a special card delivered by a postman rather than an online card."
More parcels than ever before
As more and more people turn to online shopping, December is an increasingly busy month for the Royal Mail.
Last year it dealt with 140m parcels, almost 30m more than just three years earlier.
- 2014: 120m parcels
- 2015: 130m parcels
- 2016: 138m parcels
- 2017: 149m parcels