What should I tip delivery people at Christmas? A UPS driver weighs in

Wait…You Get Gifts?

As the wife of a UPS driver, I typically don’t see my husband too often during the Christmas season, nor the gifts he receives. Wait a second. Did I just say gifts?!?!? He receives gifts?!?!?

Because Josh’s office is his truck, he can take only a minimal amount of items with him daily. After work each day, he walks into our home with the same items that he uses – containers with which he packs his lunch. Last year, when he walked into our home with a mysterious large tin, my wheels started turning. It was the first I’d even given it an inkling that he had been receiving gifts during the Christmas season. When I realized the tin was full of chocolates, I thought two things, (1) “Sweet! Chocolate for me! Yummy!” and (2) “Bummer! Chocolate for me. I won’t be able to control myself and will eat the entire tin-full before the night is over. I won’t be able to function tomorrow because I will have a sugar hangover.”

Josh knows that I try diligently to stock our home with only nutritiously dense, whole foods. He also knows that I love me some processed foods and have an amazing sweet tooth. So when I questioned the appearance of the tin, he slapped a grin on his face and explained that one of the patrons on one of his stops gave it to him. I thought it was so sweet and went on and on about it. Then I began to think — hmmm… “Is it possible that he has been receiving gifts from others, and more importantly, what has he been holding out on me?”

Up to this point, it had never occurred to me that he had been receiving gifts all of these years, even though I did it for our delivery folks. Of course, once I “got it,” I became a detective, and pummeled him with questions regarding UPS driver gifts, and in particular, his gifts.

I was shocked when he told me he had received gifts of food…daily! At first, I couldn’t believe that he hadn’t been sharing with me. Then, I thought about it and put things into perspective. During peak season, this guy works a crazy amount of hours each day and, the majority of the time, does not have time to take a lunch break. (Oh! I also thought about how, if he did share the sweets with me, that I would have a constant sugar hangover! But that’s a story for a different time…)

Anyway, the reason for my sharing this story is to:

A.) Thank you for even thinking to give your delivery person a gift. As far as Josh and I are concerned, we would never expect anything, but we sure do think it’s a very thoughtful gesture and we certainly appreciate it.
B.) If you’re like me, you want to give the perfect gift to everyone, delivery persons included. However, you find it challenging to find the perfect gift for the delivery person(s) in your life, especially if budgets are very tight.

To help solve the gift-giving dilemma addressed, I sat down with Josh and asked him this important question, “What types of gifts do you like to receive while delivering during the Christmas season?” Josh’s favorite gift became extremely evident: Food! Food in various forms, that is!


As I mentioned, most of the time, these guys (or gals) don’t get time to take a lunch break, so anything that they can eat while on the run, or quickly in between deliveries, is perfect. This could include; cookies, candies, or anything creative! If it is something that requires utensils, including those is helpful. No matter the food choice, napkins are helpful too, so they look presentable at their next stop! {The pictured reindeer food gift tutorial is available at Sweet Cheeks Tasty Treats}

2. Gas Station Gift Card

If you live where we live, restaurants are pretty much non-existent on most routes and gas stations are miles apart. This makes a gift card for the local gas station, to pick up a quick bite or something to drink, an appreciated gift.

3. Gift Card to a Local Food Shop

If a driver does have a restaurant on his route, a gift card for a restaurant that is passed while delivering is well received. If they can’t stop during peak season, they can always use the gift card once peak season is over. And it doesn’t have to be for a huge dollar amount – a $5 card is enough to cover lunch or a good snack.

4. Gift Certificate to a Local Restaurant

This is my favorite response of Josh’s, and I quote, “Since I don’t get to see my family much during peak season, a gift card to a restaurant would be nice, so that we could enjoy dinner together, once peak season is over.” Even a $5 contribution is appreciated. We love any excuse to go out to dinner and this is a perfect one!

5. A Homemade Sandwich

We had this discussion while he was eating lunch. As we were talking, he said, “This would be a perfect gift,” as he held up his lunch meat sandwich. Yes. He was serious! {Sandwich recipe pictured via: Cafe Zupas}

6. A Little Tip

He also mentioned money. Money for food, of course! {Adorable envelopes via: Unexpected 20}

An additional tidbit Josh mentioned is that he doesn’t like to receive anything that contains alcohol.

He feels uncomfortable driving while it is in the truck.

If you’re struggling with this delivery person gift-giving dilemma, I hope Josh’s answers help you. Again, we certainly do not expect anything, but we appreciate your kind gestures! Feel free to ask any specific questions below. I will be sure to ask the UPS driver who loves food, and get an answer to you right away! (Please keep in mind that UPS drivers do not have a policy regarding gifts they are allowed to receive. From what I gather, FedEx drivers are not allowed to receive cash, nor anything over $75. Mail delivery persons are allowed to receive non-cash gifts up to $20. An additional tidbit Josh mentioned is that he doesn’t like to receive anything that contains alcohol. He feels uncomfortable driving while it is in the truck.)

Maggie Slater is a wife to Joshua and a mother to Camden (3) and Kenzington (1). She finds creative ways to spend time with her family, feed them nutritionally-dense food, organize and clean their home, and save their money; all with God leading her life, and she loves to write about it. When not doing this, she works part time at Butler County Community College in Pennsylvania. She may be reached at maggie.slater1210@gmail.com.
  • Marianne

    Thank you for your thoughtful and helpful article. UPS drivers, and other delivery personnel, work long, long hours. It is a tough job. Your man is very lucky to have such a loving and appreciative wife in his corner.

  • http://www.facebook.com/audrey.novak.50 Audrey Novak

    I really appreciate this article and thanks so much for including my Reindeer Food tutorial! I honestly had never thought to leave gifts for our delivery drivers…shameful I now know! They work so hard, especially this time of year!
    Guess we’ll be making some EXTRA reindeer food this year…or maybe cupcakes :)

  • Sarah

    I never even really thought about this! It is quite perfect that I planned to make cookies for all my coworkers this year. I’ll have to make little bags for my UPS/FedEx/and USPS guys too!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003319472625 Maggie Slater

    Thank you for these sweet comments! Honestly, it took me a while to think about giving delivery people gifts, so don’t feel bad, @facebook-1686866750:disqus! At least you can do it now with your yummy treat!

  • Liz A

    Thanks for that! Very helpful!! I always wonder, though….I have my “regular guy” but often, especially this time of year, there will be other drivers that deliver. How do I know when he’s going to come, or that he will get the gift I intended for him to get?

  • Buffy Goosev

    Hi, Maggie!

    I feel for ‘ya…I’m also the wife of a UPS driver! It can be hard on our little ones (and Momma & Daddy) during peak. They sometimes go a couple days without spending any time with him. We are ALL very happy to see January. LOL!

    It seems that the most gifted item on his route is food, too! And, like you, I don’t always see much of it! I’m sure he is also protecting me from the candy hangover.

    Hang in…only 8 working days left of peak! :)

  • Maggie Slater

    @b03abe51abe4052b4423bd5484e98058:disqus, Josh didn’t get home until 8:45 last night! Overall, this peak has been pretty good, thankfully! I’m always happy to see January, too, but I hate that I sometimes feel like I wish away the Christmas season.@257d68e757d8579bc68c905e4962ec96:disqus , You’re welcome! I understand what you’re saying. We don’t have our regular guy either. I recommend giving the gift to him before the holidays or after. This way you can guarantee that he gets it! I hope this helps!

  • Wilma Souza

    I feel so guilty tonight about this. I had not idea what to do, how much and driver delivered my stuff and got out while I was thinking. Then, I came to search and I feel sad about giving nothing for him. Hopeful same driver back tomorrow with more stuff and I will have a chance to say more special thanks!

  • Appreciative

    I love my UPS guy and I was wondering if I could give him something to show my appreciation for his hard work. Thank you for posting this article!

  • swedishbits

    Great article and information! Thank you very much :) I missed Christmas giving this year (I’m sorry) but would love to use these ideas as a Happy New Year and Thank You in Advance kinda gift :D

  • Melissa

    Thank you for the great insights! I have an amazing UPS driver that thoughtfully places items on my patio even though he has to reach over the fence to get to the latch. He has even hauled one of those ginormous storage shed kits back there. Since I almost never cross paths with my delivery hero, is there any way to drop off a seasonal gift at the UPS home base? I make fudge during the holidays and felt really guilty that he was left out because of this. I don’t want to be creepy showing up at UPS, but I also very much appreciate the care he takes in delivering my parcels.