Augusta Santas deliver mail

Annette M. Drowlette/Staff
Mail carrier E.T. Gray worked his third Christmas in a row, delivering last-minute packages. "I'm not that big," he says, "but I feel jolly."

For the past three Christmases, E.T. Gray has changed his persona from naughty to nice.

Each year, Mr. Gray, a mail carrier for the Augusta Post Office on Eighth Street, dresses in red-and-white Santa garb to deliver Christmas Day packages on his downtown route.

"They call me Scrooge throughout the week, but come Christmas time it's straight Santa," said Mr. Gray, a postal service employee for nine years . "I like to come out and give that spirit."

About 30 employees sorted and sifted through last-minute deliveries Tuesday morning. Doug Shirer, the acting postmaster, said 1,300 to 1,500 packages were delivered on Christmas Day. He said it was a decrease of about 30 percent from last year because people had more time to mail their packages, because Christmas fell on a Tuesday.

It still looked like a lot of parcels to Sonya Jones, who was busy sorting boxes for her Martinez route. Sporting her own Santa outfit, Ms. Jones said this is her eighth year working on the holiday.

"I dress up every year because the children like to see us in the uniform," she said. "It makes it more fun for the kids."

Mr. Gray said his motivation comes from making everyone laugh because he doesn't look much like the fabled gift giver.

"I'm not that big but I feel jolly," he said.

Reach Adam Folk at (706) 823-3339 or adam.folk@augustachronicle.com.