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“Hipsters” to the Rescue: How do YOU Give Back During the Holidays?

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Reader, Stephanie, recently emailed with this question:

Thanks to you I’ve been receiving tons of mail… packages, samples, envelopes, etc. I receive so much each day that most of the time all my mail doesn’t fit into my mailbox. My mailman is so kind as to bring any excess up to my door, which I know he is not required to do. Because of his kindness and hard work throughout the year I’d like to give him a small gift for the holidays to show him my appreciation, but not exactly sure what I could do. Any help would be greatly appreciated!!

Now it’s your turn!

What are your thoughts on this? Do you give your Mailman a huge tip this time of year (and they definitely do a lot of work for all of us that love to request those freebies! ;) )? Or do you bake cookies and other yummy treats for your Hairstylist/Teacher/Mailman etc…? Please share any creative and frugal ideas you may have to show your appreciation for these special people. Thanks!

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244 Hip Readers Commented

  • Jen Jen says:

    Per etiquette rules I read somewhere, it is appropriate to give cash tips to your postal worker and garbage crew at the end of the year. . . .among other services you normally receive throughout the year. $5 to $10 is appropriate.

  • neysha says:

    well we are very rural so we actually know our mail carriers, UPS ect. I feel like Mr. Rodgers. Throughout the year I do different things it is not uncommon for us to exchange fresh produce, I make homemade soaps, ect. Usually this time of year it is sweets , fudge ect. Everyone at the hospital is hoping I have the baby I am carrying before Christmas as my last dec baby I brought whoopie pies with me:)

  • CdninAK says:

    For our mail carrier (who is also our neighbour) I get a Venti to go cup from Starbucks and fill it with a SB gift card, a biscotti and a 3-pack Via (which are available at the register). Put everything inside and close the lid. Voila!
    I don’t have any tips on how to save on this gift, but I just think its a neat idea!

  • LizAG says:

    My mail man is great as well!! I got married this year and he has deliverred TONS of mail to us. To show my appreciation, I leave him post-it notes and treats all year long. I told him about my love of couponing an freebies and asked him if it was ok if I leave him ‘treats’ that I acqurie from freebie sites and coupons. He always appreciates the things I leave for him, including Old Spice Body Wash and Gillette Fusion razors. I am also making homemade Tom n Jerry Mix for all the people in my life who take care of me, especially our favorithe watiresses and bartenders, stylist, and friends at church. Watiresses/bartenders/retail workers have to endure alot of cheap and grumpy people (not their fault ) so I bring my favorite people tokens that let them know I appreciate them.

  • Tracy says:

    I prefer to do hand and foot warmers along with a scarf or gloves. Gift cards are great, too!

  • Lizzy C says:

    I am taking a tip from you Colin. I watched the video you made on The woman’s shelter and giving gift baskets. I don’t have much to make a few but I will make one really good one. I have all the sample size products from the past year and I will buy a couple things that I happen to get for free in stores w. coupons. I will also print out food coupons for the basket. I will even throw in a Victoria Secret Secret Rewards card in there atleast she can feel like a woman and spend it on whatever she likes. I atleast can make one woman feel better this holiday. Thanks Colin.

  • Laurie says:

    just an idea- our Aldi had 2lb bags of Cuties clementines, 5 lb bags of oranges, and bags of pears for $1.49 each! and bags of Gala apples for $1.99, banannas for 39c a lb, and a 2lb container of grapes for 2.98. that’d make for seriously cheap DIY fruit baskets/ bowls. I’d rather get that around the holidays than a tray of nothing but sweets. you could always add a few of the sweets into the fruit asstment, too!

  • Maria S. says:

    Last year I gave a $10 gift card to McDonalds and the free calendar it came with that was filled with coupons to be used during certain months. I wrapped it in Christmas paper with ribbon and bow to make it more personal. I know $10.00 may not seem like a lot to some for a years service, but I don’t have a lot, and they know it from where we live. I’m sure in this area they are surprised by any show of thanks.

  • sharon says:

    We love our mail lady and if I am at home, will go out and help her with my packages and freebies. I always try and remember her on holidays. I asked her if she hated coming ot our house because she makes several trips to my door to deliver my haul each day. She says I’m job security for her! Last year I did homemade goodies for her wrapped the box in a holiday kitchen towel. She loves chocoloate! And mocdonalds gift cards. We live ina small town and see our mail carriers take thier break there.

  • Courtney says:

    Not sure if it’s been posted already or not, but USPS mail carriers cannot accept cash gifts. The best thing to do is to give him/her a gift card or something small. I’m planning to give mine a Yankee candle.

  • elina says:

    I give most of my stockpile away to the lords place (food), salvation army (kits with all the samples sizes I gathere in ziplock bags, and church

  • marcia says:

    I use my credit card for everything (even my utilities) so I acrue points and can get “free” gift cards – I can get small denominations for people like this or larger to purchase other gifts! Since my autopay is set up to avoid any fees with my card… it is all FREE!

  • CJ says:

    I am a public service employee and I’m not allowed to accept gifts around the holidays, so I’ve never felt obligated to give my trash collectors (they are city employees in my town), mail carriers, etc gifts either . Babysitters, favorite cashiers, etc are a different matter. But I dont believe public employees should be tipped or gifted.

  • Holly says:

    Two friends and I get together one day each December and make different food mixes to give as gifts to teachers, hairdressers, and family. We each make four things and then split them between the three of us. This year we made Chai Latte mix, chili, soup, cocoa, cookies, cinnamon pancake mix, trail mix, BBQ spice rub and more. It’s great to put a few things together in a box or basket and decorate them with ribbon, Christmas fabric or vintage tablecloths. Most of our recipes are found on the internet and we have so much fun spending the day together. We’ve had rave reviews from recipients because they can make the mixes on their schedule instead of having a box of cookies that might get old.

  • claire says:

    I wouldn’t give homemade baking – these days, people are too worried about giving food items due to the danger of poisoning, allergies, or spoilage. I give cash or Starbucks gift cards usually.

  • Jodi P says:

    Postal workers cannot accept cash gifts/tips and cannot accept anything with a value of more than $20.

  • dee says:

    Yes, it is a very nice thing to do at this time of year for all service people, however,
    they do get paid very well, perks, etc. How about giving to wounded warriers all the
    tips that you would give otherwise…These are the heros that should be thanked the
    most for their service…..

  • Kara says:

    I have numerous (up to 4) different mailman/woman who deliver my mail. I think there is 1 person who delivers mail on most days of the week and I am thinking of giving him a giftcard. Is that ok to do? I think the other 3 people deliver my mail on less days and I can’t afford to give out 4 giftcards…

  • Sarah Lualemaga says:

    I made homemade pomegranate jelly this year and our mailman loved it! :)

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