RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Businesses say the most wonderful time of the year is right around the corner, and the preparation for the season of gift giving is already underway — in September.
UPS announced that it is hiring more than 100,000 seasonal employees ahead of the holiday season. More than 1,200 of those temporary jobs will be offered in Raleigh.
Michaels Crafts also recently announced it’ll be doing the same and hiring 15,000 employees to help with the holiday rush.
“My first reaction was, ‘Already? It’s like September!’” Julia Nwokocha laughed.
The teen said she wasn’t surprised since so many people get excited for the holidays. She expects that excitement to only grow.
“Especially when it’s December, there’s extra bustling around,” Nwokocha said.
It’s not just the large companies, but local businesses, such as Learning Express Toys and Gifts in North Hills. It said it’s getting an early start, also.
“The holiday season is pretty crazy here…it’s a really important time for us, we have to be in the jolly spirit,” store manager Mina Platania said. “We’re working directly with Santa, so that’s super important.”
As one of the few remaining toy shops in the Triangle, Platania admits things can get a little chaotic as the holidays approach. She said customers have already started coming in to shop early this year.
“We have already started hiring for the holidays now and we’re always looking to find people who want to be part of that Christmas magic,” Platania said about hiring to help meet demands.
Platania said they hire several seasonal employees to help with sales and gift wrapping.
“I expect more people than last year just because more people are comfortable being out and around crowds.”
Shoppers like Sonya Battle said the extra support for smaller businesses during the holidays can go a long way, but also said some places may face challenges ahead.
“The (COVID-19) pandemic has really messed up the economy. I go to a lot of places and it’s short staffed, and long waits…that’s probably going to be the hardest thing, long waits and lines,” Battle said.
Although it’s a busy time, it’s nothing a little holiday magic can’t handle. Platania believes it’s all worth it.
“Whenever you’re done, you get to sit back and say, ‘Wow, I’m in the toy store right now. I’m having a great time, I love where I am,’” she said.