This time of year, we're always grateful for those people that we encounter on a regular basis. We like to go above and beyond for those who go above and beyond for us. It's the time of year we see to it that we give a little extra to our servers, our favorite hairstylists, or even those people who come to our house every day, often working extra hours, to make sure we get all the gifts we ordered online.

During this holiday season, you might want to leave a gift out for your mail carrier. Before you leave something out, you should know that there are some rules and guidelines that they have to follow. They'll be beyond appreciative that you thought of them, but if they're working for the United States Postal Service, they may have to leave your gift behind, because taking it could be illegal.

Man collecting mail from mailbox
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There Are Federal Guidelines

While your mail carrier does work in Virginia, Tennessee, Iowa, or any of the other states 47 states, they're not employees of your city or state. They're federal employees and their jobs fall under the Executive Branch of the United States government.

So, that means that they have to answer to the ethics guideline of that branch of government. According to the Postal Service,

Under these federal regulations, carriers are permitted to accept a gift worth $20 or less from a customer per occasion, such as Christmas. However, cash and cash equivalents, such as checks or gift cards that can be exchanged for cash, must never be accepted in any amount. 

The explanation goes on to say that in a calendar year, the total dollar amount of gifts can't add up to more than $50.

McConnell Adams, Townsquare Media Lansing
McConnell Adams, Townsquare Media Lansing

So What Can You Give Your Mail Carrier?

The policy basically means that you cannot give a gift that's always the right size and the right color, or a gift card, so you'll have to do something a little more personal.

Overall, the rule is pretty goofy. I mean, I understand the rule for federal employees to discourage bribery, but what would you even bribe your mail carrier to do? Not drop off the penny savers?

We put together a list of ideas for you to give your carrier that fall within the guidelines.

Gift Ideas For Your Mail Carrier


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