Christmas time has always been my favorite time of the year. People seem to smile a little easier and, generally, there is a good feeling all around. Who doesn't enjoy giving gifts to our family and friends?

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Sometimes, during the season of giving, we may even want to give our mail carrier something to show our appreciation for delivering all those Amazon packages. I can remember my grandmother making our mail carrier a pecan pie for Christmas. His name was Joe, and after my grandmother got cancer, he would bring the mail right to the door each day to help.

However, don't be offended if you offer your mail carrier cash, check or a gift card and they turn you down. By law, they can’t accept cash or anything that could be exchanged for cash. Even though they may be a friend or live in the same state and town as you, they are employed by the U.S. government.

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Why can’t I give them a gift of money?

The postal service falls under the Executive Branch of the government, so they are subject to a certain standard of conduct. However, if you are set on showing gratitude and giving a gift to your mail carrier, the Postal Service explains what you can give legally.

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
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Per the USPS:

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

Now I know why Mr. Joe had no problem taking one of her homemade pies!

Here are a few suggestions of gifts you can give to your mail carrier that are under the $20 limit:

  • Movie Tickets

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Rawf8
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  • Homemade baked goods

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Jelena990
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  • Ear buds

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Thinkstock
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  • Snacks

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You will likely find these items and more for less than $20, and your mail carrier will appreciate the gesture.

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