Each year around Christmas, our readers ask us whether you can give a postal carrier a gift — or a UPS or FedEx delivery person for that matter, especially if you get as many packages as we do! Well we’ve got a list below of each organization’s policies about accepting gifts and tips.

As for the USPS, they specifically mandate that you keep it under $20 in value, but no cash, no gift cards.

So leave it to our friend and lifestyle writer Danielle Smith to share this brilliant holiday gift solution: a bucket of goodies to help replenish your mail carrier on their rounds.

Thank you gift idea for your postal carriers and package delivery people via Danielle Elliott Smith
Photo:  Danielle Elliott Smith via Instagram

Taking a cue from the airlines it seems, she’s got a simple tin bucket filled with bottled water, sports drinks, bananas and chips (but no Biscoff cookies, ha) with a cute sign. She also explains that she’s replenishing the bucket every day to keep it fresh.

I looooove how simple this is! She didn’t even need to go crazy with some cotton ball snow display or professionally foil-printed sign.

(Your postal carrier is busy delivering mail, not posting your photos on Pinterest, friends.)

You can tell it absolutely came from her heart.

Of course you can add whatever variety of goodies makes sense in your neighborhood — My vote is for some local cold brew coffee for our Brooklyn carriers, yo!

Include a variety of sweet and savory items, and if you do want to get a little craftier, try these easy homemade cookie recipes you can divide up into little pouches. Or  get craftier with small baggies of DIY trail mix; be sure to check out the recipes and ingredient ideas from Stacie at Cool Mom Eats which are so creative.

Make your own trail mix recipe from Cool Mom Eats: Great recipe for postal carrier gifts!
Photo: Naomi McColloch for Make It Easy: 120 Mix-and-Match Recipes to Cook From Scratch by Stacie Billis

What gifts or tips can your mail carriers accept?

USPS
Check out the USPS Employee Tipping and Gift Giving Policy which specifies that carriers may accept gifts worth $20 or less per customer per occasion (such as Christmas or New Year’s) up to $50 in value for the total year. No gift cards, checks or cash allowed at all.

One idea beyond food: Take a look at our gift ideas under $15 for adults and see if you can stock up on something thoughtful like a cozy hat, cute socks, or a thoughtful notebook or mug with a pack of hot chocolate. It depends how well you know your carrier.

UPS
They do not have a tip limit or official policy on accepting gifts. So if you want to tip your carrier in caviar for a year’s worth of Prime book deliveries, have at it. But I’d guess that the bananas and trail mix will probably suffice.

FedEx
The company maxes out the value of gifts that can be accepted at $75, but they “discourage” cash or gift cards. Anecdotally, that means the driver will likely decline politely — at first. They may accept cash or a gift card if you’re persistent or they may not. I’d say just keep your FedEx carrier gift or tip thoughtful and affordable, which, as you can see, is a good rule-of-thumb all around.

Thanks to Danielle  Danielle Smith for sharing her clever USPS holiday gift idea. And thanks to the mail and parcel carriers out there for all you do!

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