BLOOMINGTON Standing in line is something people get used to this time of year.
That may explain the general good will residents throughout Central Illinois displayed Monday, the day the U.S. Postal Service calls the busiest of the holiday season.
The line at the main post office in Bloomington started forming before the Towanda Avenue facility opened at 8:30 a.m. By the noon hour, it was still backed up to the front door.
But patience and a positive mood were as evident as the packages being carried and Christmas cards being stamped.
It helped that postal workers went from person to person to start the process of what needed to be put on a package for shipment, which helped keep the line moving and the mood light.
"I'm a patient person by nature, but I prepared myself to have lots of patience while waiting in line today," said Sue Williams of Bloomington,
"I just didn't finish getting this package together in time to come on a less busy day."
Erin Winn of Bloomington spoke for most others, adding, "The line is not too bad, it was pretty painless. I only had to wait about 10 minutes. It went really fast. Everywhere is busy right before Christmas, but I don't mind waiting. It's better than shopping anywhere on the weekend."
Kristy Buchanan, who lives in Pekin but works in Bloomington, was pleasantly surprised when she stopped by Monday.
"I came last week and it was even worse of a line, I had to wait 20 minutes," she said. "I think it depends on when you come. I got here before the lunchtime rush so it wasn't too terrible. You have to learn to be patient at this time of year, that's part of it."
The same was true in other parts of the area.
"It's been busy at the windows. There's been a steady flow of customers. Nothing unusual, just a busy day," said Cindy Lyons, the postmaster in Pontiac.
In Clinton, a steady stream of customers came to That's A Wrap, a new package service recently opened by the DeWitt County Human Resource Center that employs people with disabilities to wrap and ship gifts.
"We've been busy the entire day," said store manager Anita Brady.
"People are mailing gifts out of state and dropping off their packages to be wrapped. We're expecting this all week."
Nearby, at the Clinton Post Office, customers kept both windows open throughout the morning.
"We haven't had five minutes where the clerks have walked away from the windows," said post office worker Chris Conn.
With Christmas just six days away, many people were shipping packages by Priority Mail, a designation that gets most mail to its designation in two to three days.
"People are trying very hard to get their packages where they need to go," said Conn.
Edith Brady-Lunny and Karen Walters contributed to this report.