Tennessee, Your Mail Carrier Cannot Accept These Gifts

Estimated read time 3 min read

The holiday season is a time for giving and spreading joy, and many of us express our gratitude by offering tokens of appreciation to those who serve our communities. Among these dedicated individuals are mail carriers, who play a crucial role in ensuring that our mail and packages reach us safely. While it’s natural to want to show our appreciation, it’s essential to be aware of the rules and guidelines regarding gift-giving to mail carriers.

Rules and Regulations Governing Mail Carrier Gifts

In Tennessee, as in many other states, the United States Postal Service (USPS) has specific rules in place regarding the acceptance of gifts by mail carriers. These rules are in place to maintain the integrity of the postal service and prevent any perception of favoritism or impropriety. Here are the key guidelines to keep in mind:

  1. Value Limitations: According to USPS regulations, mail carriers are not allowed to accept cash, checks, or gift cards. This rule is in place to prevent any potential ethical conflicts or allegations of bribery.
  2. Gifts of Modest Value: Mail carriers may accept gifts valued at $20 or less per occasion, such as a holiday gift. However, it’s essential to remember that this limit is cumulative, meaning that multiple gifts from the same individual or household throughout the year should not exceed $20.
  3. No Alcohol or Tobacco: USPS regulations explicitly state that mail carriers are not allowed to accept gifts of alcohol or tobacco products.
  4. Non-Cash Gifts Only: Gifts must be non-cash items, such as baked goods, small tokens of appreciation, or homemade crafts. These items should be of modest value and clearly intended as a gesture of thanks rather than a significant financial reward.

Matrix: USPS Gift-Giving Guidelines

Here is a matrix summarizing the USPS gift-giving guidelines for mail carriers in Tennessee:

  • Maximum value of gifts per occasion: $20
  • Cumulative value limit per year: $20
  • Acceptable gift types: Non-cash items of modest value
  • Prohibited gifts: Cash, checks, gift cards, alcohol, tobacco, and other high-value items

Expressing Appreciation Thoughtfully

While there are restrictions on the types of gifts mail carriers can accept, it’s essential to remember that these regulations are in place to maintain professionalism and integrity within the USPS. There are numerous ways to express your gratitude thoughtfully:

  1. Handwritten Note: A heartfelt thank-you note expressing your appreciation for their hard work and dedication can go a long way.
  2. Homemade Treats: Baked goods or homemade crafts are excellent options, provided they adhere to the value limitations.
  3. Small Tokens: Consider small, thoughtful gifts that fall within the acceptable guidelines, such as a festive ornament or a winter-themed mug.
  4. Friendly Greetings: A warm smile and friendly conversation when you see your mail carrier can also convey your appreciation.


As we celebrate the holiday season in Tennessee, let’s express our gratitude to the mail carriers who diligently serve our communities. By adhering to USPS guidelines and offering thoughtful, non-cash tokens of appreciation, we can ensure that our gestures of thanks are received with the professionalism and dedication they deserve. In this way, we can continue to enjoy a positive and respectful relationship with our mail carriers while celebrating the spirit of giving.

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