Has the COVID-19 pandemic made you a better, more thankful customer? Have you come to respect and admire the folks who bring your medication, food, and other late-night Amazon necessities to your door after a year of supply chain issues?

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If you're looking to give postal workers and delivery staff a token of your appreciation this holiday season, be careful — believe it or not, there are certain gifts your mail carrier can or can't accept.

In a sad, sad world where nothing can be simple or consistent, it's no surprise that different companies or groups have different rules for their hard-working employees.

Here are the policies for the three major shipping companies in the U.S.:

United States Postal Service (Post Office) Gifting and Tipping Policy

Courtesy of the United States Postal Service:

"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 with $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."

FedEx Gifting and Tipping Policy

According to company policy, FedEx employees, including carriers, may accept nominal gifts if their combined value doesn't exceed $75 USD over the course of a year.

And regardless of the amount, FedEx employees can't accept cash money, checks, gift certificates, or gift cards (which are considered cash equivalents) under any circumstances.

United Parcel Service (UPS) Gifting and Tipping Policy

Unlike the USPS and FedEx, UPS does not impose restrictions on gifts for their delivery personnel.

While you may have the best of intentions when it comes to holiday gifting for postal workers, be mindful that accepting gifts outside their company policies could result in reprimands for them or jeopardize their employment with the company.

If you're unsure of what fits within the rules or looking to show your appreciation, consider filling a basket or other container with portable items like bottled drinks, snacks, hand sanitizer, and other essentials for postal workers to grab and take with them along their routes.

'Tis the season — be a good human and be nice to those in the postal and service industries.

If you're running behind on shipping out those last-minute Christmas gifts across the country, find a post office, FedEx location, or UPS location near you.

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