Pialba Post Office staff Jacque Donaldson, Graham Lee, Glen Stafford, Rachelle Davage, Petrea Sexton, postal manager Kirsten Johnston, Nicole Barrett and Tanya Crerar, are prepared for the Christmas rush
Pialba Post Office staff Jacque Donaldson, Graham Lee, Glen Stafford, Rachelle Davage, Petrea Sexton, postal manager Kirsten Johnston, Nicole Barrett and Tanya Crerar, are prepared for the Christmas rush Alistair Brightman

INSIDE SCOOP: How to beat the postal rush this Christmas

WITH total online purchases topping over $21billion for the first time ever this year, Australia Post is gearing up for one of their most hectic Christmas periods yet.

At the Hervey Bay Post Office in Central Avenue, Postal Manager Kirsten Johnston said the team was more than ready for the rush.

Ms Johnston herself has 20 years' experience in Australia Post and works alongside a dedicated team that has hundreds of years' experience between them.

"A lot of us have worked together for many years and we're not surprised by how busy the Christmas period is," Ms Johnston said.

"We have an absolutely awesome friendly team and we are always here to help people."

Ms Johnston said there were a number of ways residents could help reduce stress levels during the peak Christmas rush.

She said customers should start posting their packages and cards now, rather than later in the month, and take advantage of Australia Post's many parcel collection options.

In-store, there will be five counters, two self-serve registers and extra concierge staff to cope with the extra customer demand.

Outside, the parcel collection hatch will be open Monday to Friday and - one service that many people don't know about - is the free 24/7 parcel lockers, located on the wall outside of the post office.

All you need to do is register for a MyPost account at auspost.com.au and you will receive a personalised address for a Parcel Locker to use when shopping online.

Ms Johnston said the 24/7 Parcel Locker service was especially good for people who were not home during the day and did not have the time to come in store with their collection card.

"If you have ordered something as part of your Christmas shopping and you are not home during the day when the delivery driver comes... it's perfect for you," she said.

"You send your parcel addressed to a virtual parcel locker address and your parcel will come directly to the post office, we'll scan it in, and you get a message on your phone to say you've got a parcel in the parcel locker.

"You then have 48 hours to collect it, after this time we remove it from the locker and retain in store for 10 days.

"All you need to do is scan the access code in your SMS or email notification and one of the parcel lockers will pop open.

"This means you can come in the middle of the night to pick up your parcel if you want to. The parcel lockers are just fantastic, I can't stress that enough."

Ms Johnston said the second week of December was traditionally the busiest time, with 1300 transactions taken over the counters on December 12 last year.

"An average number would be about 750 customers a day but as soon as December is here, things get crazy."

For those folk who like to send traditional Christmas cards, the post office is also offering 65 cent Christmas stamps, a discount of 35 cents.

Plus, residents who are registered with MyPost concession can buy a pack of five Concession Stamps for $3.

The Hervey Bay post office will open from Monday to Friday from 8.30am-5pm and Saturday's from 8.30am-noon.

The Parcel Collection hatch on the outside of the building is open Monday to Friday from 6am-9am and 2pm-5pm.

Check Australia Post for opening hours at your local post office.