A Holiday Tipping Guide

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With the holiday season upon you, life seems to become a blur of shopping, decorating, cooking and visiting friends and family. With all the preparations of the season, it’s easy to forget the many people who make your day-to-day life easier, help take care of your home and family and provide services that keep you looking and feeling good.

Don’t let their contributions to your well-being slip by unnoticed and unmentioned. Giving a tip or small gift to the many helpers in your life, such as house cleaners, day care providers and stylists, is a great way to acknowledge all they do for you during the year.

Tips for People you see Daily:

  • Doorman: If you live in a building with a doorman, you are likely always greeted with a smile and a kind word. Tip the doorman $20 to $50, more if he is particularly helpful throughout the year, or has performed special services for you.
  • Building staff: Elevator operators, building superintendents, maintenance staff… if you receive regular services from any of these helpers, a $20 to $50 tip is appropriate and appreciated.
  • Daycare provider: Your daycare provider gives hugs, provides snacks or meals, helps with homework and gives your child a safe, nurturing place to grow and develop while you are at work. Show your thankfulness with a small gift from your child, and a tip of $25 to $75.
  • Teacher: If your child is in elementary school, a small gift to his teacher means a lot. Many schools do not allow monetary gifts to instructors, so a batch of homemade cookies, gift card to Starbucks or a nearby restaurant, a picture frame or a small craft made by your child are all welcome. Make sure your child writes a personal message to accompany the gift.
  • Dog walker: Fido loves his daily outings that keep him fit and let him take care of business. A typical gift for a daily dog walker is one week’s pay.
  • Mail carrier: The postal service does not allow gifts with a monetary value of more than $20. Leave your letter carrier a gift card for the local coffee shop, or a nicely packaged batch of homemade cookies.
  • Newspaper deliverer: If you still receive a daily newspaper, it is customary to tip $10 to $30.
  • Boss: It is not necessary to give your boss a gift at holiday time, but if you have a good working relationship, it is a nice gesture sure to be appreciated. You can get coworkers to chip in, and buy a gift card, office accessory or something related to a hobby.
  • Assistant: Your assistant is your right hand at work, so acknowledge their invaluable contributions come holiday time. Even if your workplace gives bonuses, you should give an assistant a gift in the $50 range, more if you are in the company’s management. Pick your assistant a useful gift, but nothing that is very personal, such as clothing. A gift card to a restaurant or nice store is also a good choice.
  • Nanny: If you have a nanny or au pair caring for your children, have your children make a gift or drawing for her, and add in a tip of at least one week’s pay, more if your nanny has been with you a long time.

People You See Weekly:

  • Gardener: Keeping your lawn maintained and your garden growing adds to the comfort and appearance of your home. Show your appreciation with a tip of $25 to $50.
  • Pool maintenance: If you have a regular pool man, tip him the price of one visit.
  • Trash pickup: Many areas do not allow tipping for city trash collectors. If your collectors have been helpful in removing large items, bringing your trashcans from your house or picking up excessive loads, give them a gift of baked goods or a card expressing thanks.
  • Personal Trainer: He works you mercilessly getting you in tiptop shape. If you see your trainer on a weekly basis, tip the price of one visit, or give a small gift.
  • Music/Art Instructor: If you or your child has been taking long-term art or music lessons with a private instructor, a small gift costing $20 or less is a nice gesture.
  • Nursing home staff: If your mom or dad is being cared for in a nursing home, you know what a difficult, sometimes thankless job nursing can be. Most nursing homes do not allow monetary or personal gifts, but a pretty bouquet of flowers or batch of cookies for the lunchroom is always appreciated.
  • Home healthcare provider: If you or someone else in your home receives visits from a home healthcare provider, a small gift of cookies or baked goods is a welcome tip.
  • Cleaning lady: Arriving home from work to a clean, fresh-smelling home is a treat. If you have a regular housekeeper, tip the price of one week’s services.
  • Babysitter: Getting a night out alone with your significant other is like a gift in itself. Return the favor with a gift for your babysitter equal to one night’s pay. A card or handmade gift from your children is also nice.

People You See Monthly:

  • Hairstylist: She hears your innermost secrets, and keeps your hair looking its best. Tip a regular hairstylist the amount of one visit, or an equivalent gift.
  • Massage therapist: The benefits of massage include relaxation, pain relief and increased flexibility. If you have a regular masseuse, tip the cost of one visit.
  • Handyman: If you have a regular handyman who performs frequent jobs around your home, tip $20 to $40.

So many people help make your life easier and more pleasant. Remember them at holiday time with a gift or tip that shows your appreciation for the many ways they have helped you throughout the year.

Last Updated: December 27, 2012
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About Michelle Ullman Michelle Ullman has lived and gardened in Southern California since childhood. A freelance writer, she covers topics ranging from gardening to home improvement to health issues. She also has experience as a catalog copywriter and poet. Michelle has trained and worked as a respiratory therapist and surgical technologist, but prefers to spend her time gardening, and walking with her dog. Michelle holds a Bachelor's Degree from Redlands University in Business Management. 

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