The Holiday Tipping Guide

Holiday Tipping Guide

The holidays are coming so fast. You probably have a long shopping list of gifts for family and friends to tackle. But it’s not usually until the last minute that we think about the service people in our lives (hairstylists, mail carriers, babysitters, etc.) and giving them tips.

Tipping during the holidays is a nice way to show your appreciation to people who have given you great service throughout the year. The amount of the tip should be guided by common sense, your budget circumstances and the holiday spirit.

Here are some general holiday tipping guidelines:

  • Tips should be in the form of crisp, new bills (checks are okay) and need to be accompanied by holiday card or thank-you card.
  • You should give your tip or gift in person.
  • Holiday tips can be given any time between Thanksgiving Day and New Year’s Day.
  • You shouldn’t feel obligated to go beyond your personal budget. If your budget does not allow for tips, consider giving a homemade gift.
  • Any gift or tip should always be accompanied by a short handwritten note (two or three sentences) of appreciation.
  • When in doubt, ask: Call the front desk or main office of the service provider and ask what gifts can be accepted by the company, and what is typical from other customers.

Who to tip and how much:

  • Housecleaner – Tip your regular house cleaner the equivalent of one week’s salary.
  • Hairstylist – Tip your hairstylist or manicurist the amount you’d pay for one visit if you’re a salon regular. If you only go a few times a year, doubling your usual tip on services for the holidays is fine.
  • Newspaper carrier – Tip your newspaper carrier $10 to $30 if you have daily delivery.
  • Dog walker – Tip your dog walker the equivalent of one day’s pay.
  • Pet groomer – Tip your pet groomer the amount you’d pay for one grooming session.
  • Trash collectors – Tip your regular trash and recycling collectors $10 to $30 each.
  • Landscaper – If you use a landscaper or gardener regularly, you should tip him one week’s pay. If you use him occasionally, a $10 to $50 tip is fine.
  • Handyman- If you have a regular handyman, you should tip him $15 to $40.
  • Doorman – If you live in a building with a doorman, you should tip him between $20 and $100.
  • Parking attendant – If you have a regular parking attendant, tip him $20 to $30.
  • Nanny/Au pair – If you have a nanny or au pair, tip her the equivalent of one to two weeks’ pay.
  • Baby sitter – You may choose to tip your babysitter (the equivalent of two night’s pay) or you can opt to give a gift to them instead.
  • Day care providers – Cash or a gift for each staff member who works with your children of about $25-$70.
  • Teachers – Don’t tip your child’s teacher; buy a present or gift card instead.
  • Assistants – Don’t tip your assistant; buy her a gift or give a gift card.
  • Private nurses – Don’t tip home health employees or private nurses, who may not be allowed to accept tips. Instead offer a thoughtful gift.
  • Mail carrier – Don’t tip your mail carrier – he’s not allowed to accept tips, cash, checks or gift cards. They can only accept small gifts worth no more than $20 such as travel mugs, hand warmers, etc.) They can also accept snacks and beverages or perishable gifts that are not part of a meal.  Perishable items worth more (large fruit baskets or cookie tins) must be shared with the entire branch. 
  • Nursing home employees – Check company policy first. Don’t give cash. Instead opt for a gift such as flowers or food items, which can be shared by the staff.
  • Housekeeper/Cleaner – Up to the amount of one week’s pay and/or a small gift.
  • Personal trainer – Up to the cost of one session or a gift.
  • Massage therapist – Up to the cost of one session or a gift.
  • Personal caregiver – Between one week to one month’s salary or a gift.
  • Pool cleaner – The cost of one cleaning to be split among the crew. 
  • Building superintendent – $20-80 or a gift.
  • Elevator operator – $15-40 each.

The Holiday Tipping Guide


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