Guide to holiday tipping

Created date

November 26th, 2013
Gift bag and Santa hat

We ve all got people who make our lives easier all year long. There s the manicurist who always squeezes you into her schedule, the folks who mow the lawn and shovel the snow so you don t have to, and even the mail and delivery workers who make sure letters and packages arrive safely to your front door. The holiday season is a great opportunity to show those people that you appreciate them with a tip or a gift. But figuring out who to tip and how much to give can be confusing.

Holiday thanking

Modern etiquette expert Anna Post, great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post, offers some simple guidance: Think of holiday tipping as holiday thanking. This helps to suddenly make it more apparent who you might want to tip to show appreciation for the work these people do for you throughout the year. A holiday gift is never required, but when you do want to thank your service providers, Massachusetts etiquette consultant Jodi R.R. Smith says cash gifts are almost always appropriate. She offers the guide below for suggested tip amounts for different types of workers: Apartment living Custodian: $20 $50 Doorman: $25 $200 Handyman: $15 $50 Superintendent: $25 $100 Parking Attendant: $20 $50 Home care Cleaners: One week s salary Dog walker: One day s pay Trash pickup: $20 Regular delivery person: $5 $20 Lawn/snow crew: $10 per person, a bit more for the boss Newspaper deliverer: $5 $30 Personal care Hairstylist: Cost of one session Shampoo person: $5 $20 Manicurist: $15 $30 Masseuse: Cost of one session Some service providers, such as U.S. Postal Service employees, are not permitted to accept cash gifts. Instead, Smith says you can give them small gifts worth $10 to $20. If you employ people who work for an agency, such as home health care aides, Post recommends calling the agency to check whether its employees are permitted to accept tips or gifts. For many people, [home health care aides] are very valued members of their extended family, Post says. So, if you re not allowed to give a gift or a tip to those people, you might consider making a donation to the agency. Phoenix-based consumer finance expert Kevin Gallegos says you do not need to tip professionals such as doctors, lawyers, accountants, and real estate agents. If you want to show your appreciation for those people and their staffs during the holidays, Gallegos says homemade cookies or a bottle of wine are more appropriate than cash tips. If your holiday budget is tight this year, Post says you can still show your service providers that you value them. She says it may be more economical to dole out small gifts like candy, coffee mugs, or gift cards. There are a range of inexpensive and appropriate gifts that are available and are a nice way to acknowledge people, Post says.