This time of year, there's no one more important than the mail carriers and delivery drivers who safely bring those online purchases to your home. You want to show your gratitude, but is it illegal to tip these folks?

We did some digging into the claims that you can't tip United States Postal Service carriers in Boise or any other part of the Treasure Valley and here's what we found out.

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The City of Boise and any other local government could care less what you tip your postal carrier. It's the federal government that has a problem with you slipping your postal carrier cash during the holiday season because they're technically employees of the Executive Branch. The United States Postal Service has the following Employee Tipping and Gift-Receiving Policy on their website:

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.

That means that technically, even though your mail carrier can legally accept a gift with a value of up to $20, you can't hand them a crisp $20 bill, check or any sort of gift card that can be exchanged for cash.

Personally, we think it's a dumb policy. If you want to offer your mail carrier a tip for excellent service and they accept it, we're not going to tell anyone. On the flip side, if you do offer them a tip and they politely decline it, now you know why. It's not that they don't appreciate your kindness, they're just looking out for their own job security.

Looking for some ideas that won't get anyone in trouble, but still lets your delivery hero know how much you appreciate them? Here are some ideas of gifts that make sense for them in the Treasure Valley.

10 Gifts for Boise Area Mail Carriers Under $20

Since the federal government actually has rules for what you can and cannot tip your mail carrier during the holidays (and year-round,) here are 10 ideas that meet their requirements.

20 Gift Cards That People in Boise Actually Want to Receive This Christmas

Are gift cards impersonal gifts? Hardly! Some people prefer them and these are the ones that are most in-demand this holiday season!

The 10 Ornaments You'll Find on Every Boise Christmas Tree

Like snowflakes, no two Christmas trees are exactly alike once they're decorated. That said, there are certainly recurring themes on trees across the Treasure Valley.

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