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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 12/22/2010

What can you give the mailman for the holidays?

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

Looking to give a gift or tip to your neighborhood letter carrier or postal clerk this holiday season? Keep in mind that the U.S. Postal Service places restrictions on the types of presents they can accept.

Postal employees may accept gifts valued up to $20, but cannot accept cash, according to a postal spokeswoman.

Gift cards of up to $20 are also permitted, but the card cannot be redeemable for cash money and must be issued from a single company, not from a bank or shopping mall. Liquor and wine are also prohibited, according to USPS.

The restrictions stem from federal ethics standards that prohibit postal workers and all other federal workers from accepting large gifts.

And for postal customers waiting until the last possible moment to send gifts, the Postal Service said Tuesday that post offices will be open on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24. Most postal outlets will remain open until at least noon.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

A Note From The Federal Eye: The morning Eye Opener will resume on Jan. 3. Have a very happy holidays and a safe, happy, prosperous new year. Thanks as always for your continued support and readership of The Federal Eye!

By Ed O'Keefe  | December 22, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener, Postal Service  
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Comments

I loathe my mailman.

What are the options for anti-gifts?

Posted by: getjiggly1 | December 22, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

I paid thousands to my congressman to keep our post office off the closing list.

Posted by: blasmaic | December 22, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

The only times our carrier is friendly are the weeks leading up to Christmas. He places a greeting card in our mailbox most years but other times he doesn't even bother to speak. Because of this we can't help but think he is soliciting a gift from us.... Maybe we will give him a "Happy Meal" coupon before that crazy lady is successful in doing away with those too (another story for another time).

Posted by: OHREALLYNOW | December 22, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Last week I gave my WONDERFUL mailman a bag of home made cookies and he gave me a hug, and it REALLY made my day!

Posted by: bigalrlz | December 22, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

What's the proper gratuity for a TSA screener?

Posted by: whocares666 | December 22, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

My postman defines the faithful worker with a service attitude. He is the embodiment of the long, proud tradition of carrying the mail.

The 42 cent stamp is one the great bargains we have. Be it the photos I mail or the guitar repair parts that come from eBay, the USPS is there, goods in hand, sharp uniform and, typically, displaying the kind of fitness level many of us desk jockeys more deeply covet.

The fact of the matter is that small machine parts are not available from local stores any more, and the USPS is more crucial. While the distinction between first class envelope, first class large envelope, and first class parcel is complex and confusing, the tools provided to understand the rules and caliper the thickness between inadequate and non-existant, there remains no better method for certain deliveries.

I'm a fan, and my mailman already thanked me for replacing my landlord's silly 5" x 9" x 1" mailbox from 1964 with a 19" x 14" x 6" one that he uses every day, making his rounds easier. Perhaps a gift of home baked bread or cookies would help celebrate the craftsmanship that he exhibits daily.

Posted by: pptcmember | December 22, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Like most people, I am not at home when the mailman/woman delivers the mail.
When I am home, and do see the truck (he/she delivers to a cluster of mailboxes), I see different people.
The reality is I have no idea who delivers my mail, no more than I know who keeps the internet coming to my house. (Other than the company name.)
So, I'm sorry, you don't get a tip.

Posted by: gth1 | December 22, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse


The postal service employees have great salaries and the best and least expensive health benefits. That should be a sufficient gift.


Posted by: mortified469 | December 22, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Just know that your mail is getting there everyday. A token gift could go a long ways.

Posted by: luvdc808 | December 22, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

To be clear, I am a "work from home." I have not seen any of my co-workers in over a year. It is all email and telephone communication, when I am lucky to get that.

Even the telephone is inadequate, as they work so poorly these days, with cell phones, IP phones, speakerphones dropping critical words out of sentences all the time, when people will even bother to speak instead of type. I have become so unfamiliar with being around people, it is like I am a home schooled child.

My point is that the daily visit from the mailman is something I look forward to, even if it is a simple wave.

Posted by: pptcmember | December 22, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

I believe the standards are out-moded. For example, the $20 limit is probably from a time when $20 would fill your gas tank three times.

Same with the no-alcohol provision. Although I encourage less consumption as a more healthy choice, the implicit belief that giving a postal worker alcohol will morally corrupt them isn't contemporary.

And gift cards are ridiculously easy to convert into cash online.

Of course if you've found your letter carrier to be plainly honest through the year, then you can always tip an extra book of stamps.

Posted by: blasmaic | December 22, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

I consider the Postman the last vestige of honesty in the Govt. What business is it of Post Office management stating what amount of money can be given to the Postman.
What's next for the lawmakers? Tell you how much toilet paper to use?
The political hacks start off in their campaigns asking for a $ 1000.00, then work down. At least with the Postman, you are getting a service.
The politician tells you he will give a service, then forgets all about the people until the next election.
Oh, the irony of it all.

Posted by: milcon1 | December 23, 2010 6:09 AM | Report abuse

I was going to leave my postman a gift, but since the only pay raise I was going to get this year has been frozen and taken away, I will be saving my money.

Posted by: spinachetr | December 23, 2010 8:32 AM | Report abuse

I work for the post office..not looking for anything from anyone except a friendly hi or a wave..not true about health benefits and such for all employees..I am a sub, I don't get any, but I like my job, and like almost all my customers, and wish everyone a happy holiday season..even the grinches. But really do love finding a couple xmas cookies...yum..HO-HO-HO-HO

Posted by: babybeanie1 | December 23, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

I'm donating what I would have given my mail carrier to Discover Cards in his name to help pay the interest I was charged the last time he stuffed my bill into a piece of junk mail and I didn't find it in time.

Posted by: chrisj5 | December 23, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

USPS letter carriers get an allowance to buy
postal uniforms, but the allowance doesn't go too far. You can buy them non logo'd postal uniforms at websites such as www.postaluniformdiscounters.com
My letter carrier always enjoys extra uniform items.

Posted by: postaluniformsforyou | December 24, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

USPS letter carriers get an allowance to buy
postal uniforms, but the allowance doesn't go too far. You can buy them non logo'd postal uniforms at websites such as www.postaluniformdiscounters.com
My letter carrier always enjoys extra uniform items.

Posted by: postaluniformsforyou | December 24, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

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