It may seem like a generous gesture to give your mail carrier a tip for the holidays, considering all of the hard work they've put in over the last year, but it's actually not allowed.

According to the United States Postal Service's website, mail carriers are prohibited from accepting cash and cash equivalents.

"All postal employees, including carriers, must comply with the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Exec­utive Branch... cash and cash equivalents, such as checks or gift cards that can be exchanged for cash, must never be accepted in any amount."

If you're in the giving mood, but want to respect the USPS' rules, it is acceptable to treat your mail carrier with a non-cash gift that is worth $20 or less. Last year, I gave ours a box of candy, which he gladly accepted. I've also seen Pinterest ideas where the homeowner sets out a cardboard box with snacks and drinks for USPS workers and other delivery drivers. I think any carrier would happy with that kind of gift.

H/T to 101.5 WDPH in Hudson Valley.