It may seem charitable to tip your postal person in the spirit of the season, but it's not a good idea.

It may be that neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds, but federal regulations say accepting tips is not allowed.

Sure, you'd like to thank your postal person for enabling your online shopping habit and dropping off endless Amazon deliveries. Perhaps you run a home office and have essential postage that is taken care of every single day. Maybe you count on getting your life-saving prescription medication by mail and it is always there.

Nonetheless, rules are rules and the United States Postal Service policy states:

All postal employees, including carriers, must comply with the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Exec­utive Branch. 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.

So, it seems like it might be OK to bake cookies or knit a scarf for your letter carrier but cash and gift cards are off the table as tips in recognition for great service. Who knew?

UPS and Fed-Ex workers would like me to remind you that they do not work for the Federal government and would be happy to help you feel generous this holiday season.

Bonus Video: See Kalamazoo's Christmas Card Lane with and Without Snow

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