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Nothing can turn a Clark Griswold into an Ebenezer Scrooge quite like packages getting delivered late during the holiday season. Whether that white elephant gift didn't arrive in time for your office holiday party or the present that was No. 1 on your kiddo's Christmas list doesn't show up in time to sneak it under the tree, shipping delays this time of year are a prime source of seasonal frustration.

To cope, the U.S. Postal Service is looking to bring on 28,000 seasonal workers and 137 new package sorting machines. But the measures being taken to get you your holiday packages on time don't stop there: Consumers can also anticipate some after-dark and even nighttime deliveries.

Amid holiday hiring, the Postal Service is still struggling to reach its staffing goals, leaving postal workers to work round-the-clock to fulfill deliveries. So, whether you have a sleeping baby and a dog that barks at every vehicle that pulls into your driveway (a recipe for disaster) or you're easily spooked at night, don't be alarmed if you see a mail truck outside your house after the porch lights have gone out.

Gallery: Things You Didn't Know About the U.S. Postal Service

To avoid compromising your holiday spirit and ensure packages are received in time for Christmas, the Postal Service recommends mailing retail ground or first-class items by Dec. 17 and express-delivery shipments by Dec. 23.

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