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The Folks Who Bring You Christmas . . .

It’s finally Christmas morning, and another hectic holiday season is almost over.

Santa has come and gone, and most of the colorful wrappings are torn from packages that were under the brightly decorated tree. The stockings that were hung by the chimney with care lie discarded on the floor.

Preparations for Christmas dinner are under way, and the smell of roasting turkey wafts from many a kitchen. Thoughts turn to family and friends who will gather later.

All but forgotten are the crowded parking lots, the long lines and the rest of the nerve-racking hustle-bustle that goes with the season.

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Also far from most of our minds are the people who helped bring us Christmas--the store clerk who painstakingly helped select that special tie or cologne, the delivery man who banged on your door each time a package arrived, the nice woman who hand-packed a box of candy and waited patiently as you made your selections.

Most who provide services to people during the holidays have worked long hours and have had little time for Christmas preparations for themselves.

“I have one day off before Christmas, and I haven’t even bought one gift,” said a harried clerk in a women’s clothing store last week.

“We’ve been open until 11 every night. I didn’t want to work this much.”

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Following are a few examples of people who made Christmas a little brighter for others this year. Their stories were compiled by Times staff writers.

The UPS driver: Tom Carras hops out of the driver’s seat 150 times a day. But he says he enjoys the holidays because he comes bearing gifts.

There have been mornings these past few weeks when Tom Carras wonders how he will get all the work done. As he looks into his brown United Parcel Service truck jampacked with brown paper packages, Carras figures there is no way he can deliver each and every box to its appointed destination.

But every day he does. It takes him eight hours, sometimes 10 and occasionally 12.

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Carras, 25, has been a UPS driver since 1988 and during the holiday season he delivers up to 300 packages a day along his 30-mile route through Northridge business districts and residential neighborhoods. About 150 times a day he hops out of his driver’s seat, finds the package, sprints to the door, delivers the box, runs back to the truck and forges ahead to the next destination.

Somewhere in there he wishes folks a “merry Christmas.”

Worldwide, UPS delivers about 11 million packages a day, but during the holidays that figure doubles to nearly 22 million a day. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s 314,000 employees will direct more than 300 million packages to their destinations.

The grueling work sometimes seems impossible. But Carras said he enjoys the holidays because he comes bearing gifts that light up the faces of those who accept them.

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“They’re just so happy to see you,” he said. “It makes your whole day. It’s nice.”


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