For most of us, the build-up to Christmas begins with decorations being put out and gifts being purchased, sometimes just a week or two before the big day.

But for Royal Mail staff, preparations for the big day have been under way since mid-November, with the busiest mail day of the year now past us.

On Wednesday, around 2.2million letters, parcels and other items passed through this Springburn depot, the most of any day this year.

With the expectations of the public’s own Christmas often riding on the postal service, it would be easy to imagine a high-stress environment with hundreds of workers scurrying around.

However, this could not be further from the truth.

Looking around, letter sorters compare festive jumpers, a step back from the traditional red uniforms, while Santa hats are passed around between workers.

According to plant manager Tony McPherson, who has worked at the site for 25 years, staff just enjoy spreading Christmas cheer.

He said: “This is a very loyal workforce and people love their job.

“There’s definitely a good atmosphere around Christmas.

“Staff will even work over their time just to make sure people get their Christmas cards on time.

“Our staff are our customers too, so they want to make sure people get their letters.”

While much of the work is straightforward, Christmas does bring its own challenges for mail workers.

As many as 700 staff work in the Springburn plant at a time, with operations running 24 hours every day to ensure nobody goes without their mail this Christmas.

Overnight flights carry letters and parcels to all corners of the country, while vans and trucks help deliver letters.

A crack team of top letter sorters are deployed to get to the bottom of mail mysteries, with letters sent without addresses, or occasionally even a name. A marquee has even been erected to cope with the extra festive demand, next to the depot.

But one special job has now been made easier, with Mr Claus’ mail now sent directly to the North Pole, meaning all children can get a letter in reply before December 25.

For workers, the spectacle of the festive season, along with the introduction of Christmas staff, can lift their spirits during the long winter hours.

Alison Wotherspoon started as a Christmas temp herself 14 years ago.

She said: “It has been all hands on deck since the middle of November – I love getting the first Santa letters as you know that Christmas is coming.

“Everyone around here is so excited, there are decorations up and there is a real excitement building for the staff.

“It is great as we are helping other people with their Christmases, so by the time we get to have one with our families we are ready to go.

She added: “But there is still lots of work to do before then.”