By Howard Monroe

WEST DEPTFORD, N.J. (CBS) — With Thanksgiving over, many are now turning their attention to those all-important holiday gifts. A big consideration is making sure they get there in time.

Christmas may still be a few weeks away, but time is ticking. First, the United States Postal Service’s deadline to get gifts delivered by Christmas using retail ground shipping is Dec. 15. FedEx is also saying Dec. 15 for normal shipping, while UPS is giving you a little longer, until Dec. 20.

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These dates do not include more expensive, rush services like priority mail or next-day air.

Meanwhile, Amazon is the biggest player in online shopping these days, and they are going to great lengths to ensure purchases are delivered on time.

“We’re the last mile here,” Marie Johnson said.

The 200 employees inside this Amazon Delivery Center in West Deptford call themselves the last mile. They are the last people to handle holiday packages before they’re delivered.

“We make sure that there’s no package left behind,” Johnson, the site’s leader, said. “We want to make sure that all our customers have everything they need for their holiday.”

Johnson started as a seasonal employee four years ago and now runs the South Jersey facility.

The sorters work 10-hour days, four days a week. Some of them start as early as 1 a.m. Coming off of what Amazon called a record-breaking Black Friday and Cyber Monday, they have their work cut out for them.

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On a typical day, they move 40,000 packages, but leading up to Christmas, they will almost double that to nearly 80,000 packages.

“People are ordering for Christmas or Hanukkah, so it’s super exciting to be the ones to deliver their packages right to their doorstep,” Johnson said.

Those drivers aren’t Amazon employees.

Steve Kearns started off as a sorter over six years ago. During the pandemic, he started his own business and became a delivery service provider, Raptor LGX, for Amazon. He now has 80 employees.

“We’re responsible for delivering Amazon packages in our local communities,” Kearns said. “It’s very similar to almost like a franchise.”

Like an assembly line, drivers pull into the delivery center to get into position. They then only have 30 minutes to load up their vans. The bins are sorted by zip code and neighborhood. Then for the next eight to nine hours, they’re on the road.

“Vans go out, they’re completely full,” Kearns said. “We teach our drivers to eat the elephant one bite at a time.”

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Amazon is making holiday deliveries up until Dec. 24.