It's always interesting to consider who gets a nice tip for the holidays, and who doesn't.

What do you leave inside your mailbox for your mail carrier as a thank-you for always delivering your mail and packages in all types of weather?  The mail carrier who takes the extra effort to hand-deliver your package to the door because it's slightly too big for your mailbox is one who goes the extra mile.

After all, mail carriers have deadlines for delivery to everyone on their route, just like UPS and FedEx and even Amazon drivers.  However, many people know their mail carrier, and mail carriers certainly know you.

So what can you gift your carrier to show your appreciation?  There are federal rules about this. No cash, no gifts cards which can be exchanged for cash, and no checks.

According to, here's what postal workers can accept:

Under 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. Furthermore, no employee may accept more than $50 worth of gifts from any one customer in any one calendar year period.

What do we do here in New England for our weather-challenged mail carriers? Here are a few ideas.

Any $20 gift card works, but some are better than others.  A Dunkin' card goes a long way, as does any local gift card to a convenience mart, gas card, or favorite breakfast spot.  Snack foods are good, or a travel coffee mug or stainless tumbler.

Other New England ideas include a portable charger, Popcornopolis zebra popcorn, a Carhartt beanie or gloves, local maple syrup or honey, any Stonewall Kitchen item, or a Cinnamon Walnut Boston Coffee Cake.

Just don't buy your carrier a book of stamps. That would be rude.

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