As online shopping has exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada Post says it’s planning for a Christmas season like no other.

The increased demand for parcel delivery is expected to continue into the holiday season this year, as more Canadians plan to do their shopping online.

“Canadian shopping habits have dramatically and permanently shifted in response to COVID-19, resulting in a year of significant parcel volumes,” Canada Post says.

To avoid disappointment, the delivery service is encouraging you to break with tradition and get a head start on your holiday shopping list.

“This will help to spread out the expected demand and avoid a Christmas capacity crunch. Typically, the bulk of holiday parcels arrive in a short-term surge as Canadians do most of their online shopping within a short window close to Christmas.”

A recent survey showed 48 per cent of Canadian shoppers plan on spending mostly or exclusively online this coming holiday. As well, 54 per cent were open to begin shopping in October or November.

“Shopping early and spreading out purchases is key to avoiding the traditional short-term surge in online holiday shopping,” Canada Post adds.

“With the expected volumes, the addition of a traditional holiday parcel surge has the potential to overwhelm capacity and cause significant delays.”

To scale-up, Canada Post will be adding more than 4,000 temporary seasonal employees and will be increasing its fleet by more than 1,000 vehicles.

Its crews will start delivering on weekends in many communities, and more parcel pickup locations will be added in the near future.