When the holidays roll around, you probably think a lot about the ways in which you can make them brighter for your friends and family. However, these days, there is also a move toward giving gifts to other people you may deal with in your life.

For instance, people like mail carriers, hairdressers, doormen, and teachers have all served you throughout the year, and it might be a nice idea to try to brighten up their holiday season with a little gift. In many cases, the tradition is to give these people cash, but it's not always easy to determine exactly how much to give.

For mail carriers, there are actually rules that dictate how much they can receive. The Postal Service only allows them to get gifts - of any kind - with a cash value of up to $20, and they must either return or reimburse whatever you give them that exceeds that amount. If you feel as though it's warranted, you might also want to tip the person who delivers your daily newspaper the same amount. If you live in an apartment building with a doorman, meanwhile, you might want to double that amount to $40.

There may be employers' rules in place when you deal with teachers, as well. For this reason, it might be a good idea to simply donate some school supplies and have your child write a thank you card, rather than giving them a cash gift.

Where people whose services you pay for are involved - the person who does your nails or hair, your housekeeper, or your babysitter, for example - you should aim to give them a holiday gift worth about the cost of one or two of your visits, plus tip.

Of course, there are other ways to give gifts to these people involved in your life that do not require a cash payout. These could include homemade gifts, or food like cookies or brownies, that they might appreciate just as much, and could stand out from the crowd of other gifts they receive. Any time you give such a gift, it might be a good idea to include a thank you note so they know who it came from.