Think Kindness Challenge: Holiday kindness to letter carriers and sanitation engineers

My Mom is one of the most thoughtful people I know, and it certainly extends to Christmas. She begins baking weeks ahead, preparing special goodies for family, friends, neighbors, as well as her letter carrier and sanitation engineers. She’d leave prettily wrapped packages in the mailbox for our letter carrier. A stay-at-home Mom, she would watch carefully on garbage day, then run outside with a huge smile and a plate of homemade goodies to greet the team. One year, she missed them by minutes, hopped in her car, and chased them down the street until she caught up to give them their gift.

This was in rural Utah, and as I moved out and lived in different cities, I assumed it was something reserved for small towns. I didn’t participate in her festive glee giving feeling silly waiting for the garbage truck to arrive. Not until I had a family of my own and truly began to make a home did I see the value in her kind gestures. A few years ago found me running outside in my candy cane striped pajamas on Christmas morning just to give our sanitation crew a box of homemade fudge. These guys were working on Christmas day, for crying out loud. The smile they gave me was incredible. Sure, I looked like a fool, but it’s not like they hadn’t seen me run outside in my pajamas before – generally I had a toddler on my hip, eyes huge, mouth exclaiming in glee with seeing the great big garbage truck in action. These are the men who would wave, honk, and smile, totally making my toddler’s day. Didn’t they deserve a little kindness during the holidays? After that first gesture of gratitude, I was hooked. Just like my mom, I too now ensure our letter carrier and sanitation engineers are included on our holiday list.

My friend Mark, a friend clear back from 3rd grade, is now a letter carrier and completely loved by the community in the small town he serves. I asked him for ideas as to what we should give to our own letter carrier this holiday season. His ideas include:

  1. A thank you note. Think about it; letter carriers bring your mail 5 days a week in all kinds of weather. Sweltering 100 degree days, frigid snowy days, windy days: you name it, they’re there. We thank teachers for taking care of our children. Why not the people who bring us our communication? My daughter loves using her markers and colored pencils to draw our letter carrier something unique, thoughtful, and heartfelt.
  2. Food. Mark says homemade treats – or store bought treats – are always welcome surprises. Be sure to engage your kids in the process: they could help bake, choose a treat at a store, and place the surprise package in the mailbox.
  3. Letter carriers are technically not supposed to receive anything of value, but if it’s under $5.00, it should be alright. Maybe a gift card to Starbucks for he/she to treat themselves to something warm on these cold days?
  4. Finally, Mark says his favorite treasures have been little thoughtful gifts such as mail-themed Christmas ornaments. Pretty much anything you can do to extend kindness to your letter carrier and let them know you value them would be truly appreciated.

The same extends to sanitation engineers. Although there’s not a nice (and clean!) little box to leave surprises in, you can always resort to my mom’s trick: wait, watch, and run.

mail carrierSo, this holiday season, consider thanking the people who serve you day in and day out, week after week, year after year. Sure, they have salaries: but don’t they deserve a little gratitude too? And be sure to include your kiddos to create a tradition of kindness, just like my mom did with me.

How about you? Have you ever thanked your letter carrier or sanitation engineer? If so, what other ideas do you have? Comment below and tag #TKholidaykindness, I’d love to hear!