Jingle Noms - share yours?
December 7, 2009 10:38 AM   Subscribe

Our office wants to give the UPS, Fed Ex and postal carrier food gifts this year. Any great suggestions? I have a catalog from Boston Coffee Cakes - looks yummy. What kinds of food gifts have you gotten that's been extra awesome? Thanks for the suggestions!
posted by Mysticalchick to Food & Drink (22 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I don't have a specific suggestion, just a suggestion to avoid: alcohol, coffee, ham, etc, as the delivery person may have religious or dietary restrictions.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:42 AM on December 7, 2009


I always looked forward to the holiday gift from one colleague who used to send me a sampler box from Fairytale Brownies every year. REALLY delicious, and the variety is fun. Only works if you know you've got a chocolate fan, though.
posted by tigerbelly at 10:42 AM on December 7, 2009


The thing is that, at Christmas, people in roles like this get a bunch of food gifts all at once, at a time when people are also making their own delicious holiday food.

Something like a delicious Boston Coffee Cake might go to waste because it doesn't keep longer than a week or two, and it isn't going to get eaten because there's still so much of Aunt Agnes's pie left from dinner.

Think about giving something with a longer shelf-life.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:44 AM on December 7, 2009


Response by poster: Thanks for the reminder, Sidhedevil - suggestions for non-food items as well? I love getting gift cards but hate like hell giving them.
posted by Mysticalchick at 10:48 AM on December 7, 2009


I don't know, I think a gift card is a pretty reasonable gift for the type of relationship you have with them. I don't know if it's a big issue, but also consider that these people have a ton of crap to carry on their routes - so finding a plate of cookies may be a great gesture, but if they're already hauling around a dolly of packages and a huge mail bag, that plate may be a little hard to handle.
posted by Think_Long at 10:59 AM on December 7, 2009


There are federal regulations on gifts to postal carriers. No cash/gift cards, under $25, no alcohol seem to be the rules but I can't find them cited on USPS site... Might be similar rules for fedex/UPS.
posted by countrymod at 10:59 AM on December 7, 2009


I love getting gift cards but hate like hell giving them.

Yeah, but a gift isn't really about you, is it?

Honestly, purchased food gifts are generally FAR less popular with the recipients than the givers imagine they will be. I answered the question as put, but if gift cards or monetary gifts (cash enclosed with a signed thank you note) are on the table as an option (which they may not be, given regulations), I would place very, very high wagers that this is what your intended recipients would rather receive.

iTunes cards are usually a good bet. Amazon cards can be used for a wide variety of items, from books to music to electronics to household items, and thus offer your recipient more freedom. You can also purchase "cash" gift cards that can be used pretty much anywhere from Citibank and the like.
posted by tigerbelly at 11:03 AM on December 7, 2009


I love the cold hard cash people give me for the hlidays.

Seriously, one of the professors collects $10- $20 from all the faculty in my school, divides by the number of department assistants, and each of us lowly assistants end up with $100 - $200 in cash. He makes a big show of passing it out, too, by coming around each department in an elf hat and shouting loudly, "[First Name] the Elf is here!" and hands over the envelope.

It's really the best. But also very much part of tradition around here. This guy's been doing this for nearly thirty years now.

Other things I really enjoyed were homemade limoncello (clearly alcohol so unless you know the person drinks on occasion and unless you know how to make limoncello, probably not a good plan), gift certificates to area restaurants/cafes, and various things that people knew I'd like --- books by a particular author, etc.

But, mostly, I have to emphasize the cash as a totally awesome workplace gift, tradition here or not.
posted by zizzle at 11:03 AM on December 7, 2009


But I suppose that isn't going to work after all if there are regulations in place against it. But I think it stands in general, though perhaps not for the federal or package delivery wage-earner.
posted by zizzle at 11:06 AM on December 7, 2009


According to EmilyPost.com:

United States Postal Service Gift Regulations:

Mail carriers working for the United States Postal Service are allowed to accept the following items during the holiday season:

* Snacks and beverages or perishable gifts that are not part of a meal.
* Small gifts that have little intrinsic value (travel mugs, hand warmers, etc…) and are clearly no more than $20 in value.
* Perishable items clearly worth more (large fruit baskets or cookie tins) must be shared with the entire branch.

Mail carriers working for the United States Postal Service may not accept the following:

* Cash gifts, checks, gift cards, or any other form of currency.

posted by Sidhedevil at 11:08 AM on December 7, 2009


Response by poster: Tigerbelly, I know. I know. (hangs head in shame) I just have this funky thing about giving gift cards because it feels to me as if I'm saying "oh hi, I put no effort or thought into your gift whatsoever. Enjoy!" but I'm trying to get past it.

I don't think we can give cash but gift cards are a distinct possibility. Love hearing your ideas and thanks for all the input!
posted by Mysticalchick at 11:10 AM on December 7, 2009


My dad was a UPS driver throughout my childhood, and while it sucked that he wouldn't get home until 7pm or later during the month of December, it would be cool whenever he would bring home a gift someone on his route got him.

IIRC, my family loved getting boxes of chocolate or any candy, those things with summer sausage, or gift cards. A gift card to a place most people shop or eat at would be fine. I'll check with my dad to see if there's anything in particular that he liked getting.
posted by drezdn at 11:14 AM on December 7, 2009


Coming from a friend* who is a UPS truck driver and a cousin* who is a FedEx guy, they can never have enough hand warmers.

*Both live in snowy/cold wintery parts of the country.
posted by banannafish at 11:17 AM on December 7, 2009


Hand warmers sound like a fantastic idea to me.
posted by Think_Long at 11:34 AM on December 7, 2009


Go to www.zabars.com--lots of fantastic goodies at relatively decent prices.
posted by onepot at 11:37 AM on December 7, 2009


Fruit from Harry and David could be a nice alternative to candy or baked stuff, and unlikely to run afoul of dietary restrictions - they have some fruit boxes under $30.
posted by lakeroon at 11:37 AM on December 7, 2009


A UPS driver has a truck where in which to stash things (s)he receives, but the mail carrier has to, you know, carry any gifts.

I like my delivery people, too, so I would be interested in an appropriate and at least quasi-legal gift idea (e.g., tiny flashlight).
posted by wenestvedt at 11:59 AM on December 7, 2009


I happen to work for one of the companies you mentioned and I KNOW that we are NOT allowed to accept anything that has a cash value (checks, GIFT CARDS, cash, etc.). Be sure you don't put the recipient of your gift in an awkward position.

Because there is so much food given during the holidays be sure it is something that will keep or freeze - I like Fairytale Brownies too. Also, be sure that the dollar value is not so high that it would cause any potential ethics violation - usually under $50 is acceptable with most companies.
posted by cainiarb at 12:19 PM on December 7, 2009


My parent just give cash. Old fashioned and a lot of gift cards expire or have fees attached to them if they go past a due date.
posted by stormpooper at 1:35 PM on December 7, 2009


Tigerbelly, I know. I know. (hangs head in shame)

Heh. :)
For what it's worth, cainiarb is right -- Fairytale brownies do keep. I have been known to hoard mine in the fridge for MONTHS.

Okay, non-giftcard ideas: what about a really nice insulated coffee mug/thermos (maybe that Contigo that Lifehacker has been drooling over) for their truck, with handwarmers like bananafish mentioned tucked inside?
posted by tigerbelly at 2:19 PM on December 7, 2009


I am like super-redneck about not eating chocolate or other 'bad' foods but as soon as I saw your question I thought of the gift some dark soul gave me one year, which I was thinking about (the gift, not the persons black heart) the other day, with a deep longing -- rich, dark, creamy, thick, dense, fudge.

Oh. my. god.

I can't remember who gave to me this satanic substance but I wish now that I'd have married them. You can't buy fudge like this, at least I've never seen it or tasted it anywhere from any dang store, which I believe is probably a good thing, as I'd now have to be weighed at a truck stop.

I ate the whole goddamn thing that night.

NOT brownies -- those are for kids. Fudge. With walnuts, sure, but not too many of them. Fudge -- chocolatey, dense death.

Be merciless, be pitiless, be heartless, cruel -- bestow upon these poor innocents this 'gift' and you shall own them, they will perform your bidding until the end of time.
posted by dancestoblue at 5:13 PM on December 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


What if you put together a little gift mug?

According to EmilyPost.com:

United States Postal Service Gift Regulations:

Mail carriers working for the United States Postal Service are allowed to accept the following items during the holiday season:

* Snacks and beverages or perishable gifts that are not part of a meal.
* Small gifts that have little intrinsic value (travel mugs, hand warmers, etc…) and are clearly no more than $20 in value.
* Perishable items clearly worth more (large fruit baskets or cookie tins) must be shared with the entire branch.

Mail carriers working for the United States Postal Service may not accept the following:

* Cash gifts, checks, gift cards, or any other form of currency.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:08 AM on December 7 [+] [!]


Get insulated travel mugs (your company logo is optional) and fill them with packs of hot chocolate, hand warmers, and candy. Pour the candy in the bottom, then tuck the packets of hot cocoa or instant coffee and hand warmers inside with a little note of appreciation. Put the lid next to the cup and wrap it with clear wrapping plastic and a pretty bow. The mail/delivery person will see that it is something that they can accept and you do a little better than gift cards.
posted by TooFewShoes at 8:32 PM on December 8, 2009


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