One of my favorite holiday shows is the Rankin/Bass TV special “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town.” I love the show’s narrator, Special Delivery Kluger, voiced by the unforgettable Fred Astaire. S.D. is a friendly mailman whose delivery truck is actually a custom snowcat that carries him throughout the North Pole, sharing tales of Santa with the kids along his route.
This month, USPS mail carriers – more than 300,000 strong – will deliver hundreds of millions of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and New Year’s Day greetings to some 43,000 zip codes across the country. These heroes work hard to bring us the holiday packages and cards that make the season bright for loved ones near and far.
Many of us know our letter carriers by name and have friendly chats during the year. Our carrier in Crystal Lake is Chuck, and we’ve been friends for more than a decade. A few years ago he asked if I would consider doing a magic show for a charity he supports. He knew I was a magician, having delivered dozens of issues of MAGIC Magazine to my mailbox. It was a pleasure to appear in the show, and since then we’ve enjoyed an even closer friendship.
As part of the American Litho team, I have an even deeper appreciation and respect for the amazing role USPS plays in delivering for all of us. In 2015 ALitho produced nearly 1 billion pieces of mail, from simple postcards and letters to custom self-mailers featuring 4-color personalization. Our direct mail team shares the same commitment held by USPS employees to provide the fastest, most reliable service on the planet. In our eyes, every piece of mail we create is just as critical as a child’s letter to Santa – and we do all we can to speed it on its way.
We are in awe of what USPS accomplishes with zero funding from taxpayer dollars. Did you know that together, USPS truckers and letter carriers drive 4 million miles every single day to deliver our letters, cards and packages? Pretty amazing.
To recognize the dedication of your mail carrier, we recommend you remember him or her with a small gift of appreciation this season. But keep in mind that USPS rules prohibit carriers from accepting cash, checks or gift cards. Snacks, beverages or perishable gifts that are not part of a meal are fine, so a package of homemade treats, hot chocolate or fruit is a good choice.
Small gifts that are clearly no more than $20 in value are also great. Here are a few practical ideas your carrier will really appreciate.
- HotSnapZ hand warmers, $16.67 for two.
- O’Keeffe’s Working Hands Cream, $8.49.
- DEET-free, wearable bug repellent bands from Bugband, $4.95.
Whatever you choose, your letter carrier is sure to be touched by your gift.
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