Holiday

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What Your Delivery Drivers & Mail Carriers Really Want As A Thank You Gift

And apparently there are rules on what they're allowed to accept.

Between good old-fashioned mail and all the online shopping options today, you probably see your fair share of mail carriers and delivery people throughout the year. You may wonder, with the holidays approaching, what mail and delivery people really want as a thank you gift. And especially this year, when the whole country relied on these essential workers to deliver goods to us at home during COVID-19, it’s the perfect time to express your gratitude.

First things first, you’ll want to choose gifts that are within the legal limits of what your mail carrier can accept. That’s right — because mail carriers are federal employees, there are laws about what gifts they can and can't take from you. The United States Postal Service (USPS) website says:

“Carriers may accept a gift worth $20 or less (this includes store, restaurant, or mall gift cards). However, carriers must never accept cash and cash equivalents, such as checks or gift cards that can be used like credit cards (with Visa, MasterCard, or American Express logos) for any amount.”

Most other delivery people who aren’t government employees, like UPS, FedEx, or Amazon carriers, should be able to accept small favors if you want to give them. Dan McMackin, a PR representative for UPS, tells Romper that their drivers certainly don’t expect tips or holiday goodies. That said, he knows they appreciate the gesture.

“Our drivers certainly are thankful for the kind gestures of food and water and cards and artwork that have been left out for them,” he says. "And they certainly don’t expect to receive things as gratuities. But again, anything is appreciated — cookies, water, energy bars. I think some of the children’s artwork has been most appreciated. Just the knowledge that their work and their service is appreciated is enough.”

“Amazon delivery drivers really do love delivering to customers and appreciate the acknowledgements, thank you signs, snack baskets, and all the various thoughtful gestures by customers to say thanks throughout the year,” adds Deborah Bass, PR representative for Amazon, in an email to Romper.

Kim Frum, a senior public relations representative for the USPS, tells Romper in an interview that many mail carriers have experienced extra kindness from people this year because of the pandemic. “Postal Service employees never expect tips or gratuities, so it’s always a very nice surprise when customers choose to do so. With COVID-19 impacting everyone, many of our carriers have been recipients of kindness from their customers. No matter what time of year, customers can show their appreciation in any number of ways, as long as they stay within the guidelines.”

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Frum’s suggestions for those who want to thank their mail person (and stay within the legal limits of what they’re allowed to accept) include:

  • Baggies of hand sanitizer, gloves, and masks
  • Bottles of water
  • Candy bars
  • Drawings
  • Gift cards for coffee shops or restaurants that are $20 or less (No cheating and giving multiple cards of $20 each — any gift must be $20 or less total.)
  • Handmade items, like scarves or hats
  • Homemade gifts, such as cookies or a small gift basket
  • Letters of thanks

Need some extra ideas? There are plenty of options out there your mail carrier or delivery person will appreciate.

Snacks & Refreshments

Everyone loves holiday cookies and sweets. Placing some baked goods and a card out for your delivery person is sure to brighten their day. If you’re expecting a few mail carriers and delivery drivers, you could leave out some small prepackaged snacks and a cooler of drinks to choose from.

Climate Considerations

Think about the seasons where you live — is it brutally hot in the summers or absolutely frigid in the winters? Gifting your mail person with some gloves, an insulated cup for hot or cold drinks, or another seasonally appropriate item is sure to be appreciated. Those little hand warmers are also a great choice.

Heartfelt Cards

Just acknowledging how much you appreciate your mail carrier’s efforts is a sweet way to say thank you and spread some holiday cheer. Drop a handwritten card into your mailbox for them to find. If you have children, make it extra special by allowing them to sign or draw in the card, or create artwork the recipient can keep.

A Fresh Bouquet

If you happen to be in Trader Joe’s or at the farmer’s market, a seasonal bunch of flowers would make a great gift, too. They should be easy to find under the maximum gifting amount guidelines for USPS workers, and will help the delivery truck smell good for the rest of the day to boot.

Compliments To The Boss

What could be a better gift than potentially getting someone a raise? If your mail carrier or delivery person goes above and beyond in some way — like being extra personable, or trying to make sure your packages stay safe or dry — let their supervisor know. Send a letter of appreciation addressed to the postmaster of the office where your mail carrier works, letting them know how invaluable they are to you.

Sources:

Dan McMackin, public relations representative for UPS

Deborah Bass, public relations representative for Amazon

Kim Frum, senior public relations representative for the United States Postal Service