You’re always grateful for the folks in your life who go the extra mile to provide you with great service. Your favorite server, your stylist and this time of year, the folks that deliver all those gifts you bought while online shopping! 

During the holiday season, you may want to show them by leaving them a gift. Before you leave them that gift or tip, you need to catch up on the strict gifting guidelines they have to follow. They’ll no doubt appreciate your token of appreciation, but if they work for the United States Postal Service they may refuse to accept it because doing so could be illegal. 


While these mail carriers live and work in the neighborhoods they work in Idaho, California and the other 48 states, they’re not employees of the city or state they call home. They’re federal employees and their jobs fall under the Executive Branch of the United States government. That means they are subject to the standard of ethical conduct for that branch. When it comes to gifts, the Postal Service explains

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 total value of gifts from a customer can’t add up to more than $50 in one calendar year, either. 

What Can You Gift to Your Postal Carrier?

Rally To Save The Post Office - Los Angeles, CA
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That policy means that even though cash is the gift that everyone wants, you can’t hand them a crisp $20 bill, a check or any sort of gift card that can be exchanged for cash. Instead, you’ll have to think outside the box and find a gift within those guidelines.

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Overall, we think the policy is silly but wanted to make you aware of it so that if your mail carrier politely declines your gesture, your feelings aren’t hurt. On the flip side, we don’t know too many people who would go running to the federal government to tell on a carrier that accepted a gift. 

If you want to provide your carrier with a gift that falls within the guidelines, we put together a list of ideas! We think these are a little better than ThoughtCo’s suggestion of plaques or trophies. 

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.

Gallery Credit: Michelle Heart

KEEP READING: 15 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!

Gallery Credit: Michelle Heart

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