This week, I’m reviewing all of the people who provide me with services, and figuring out how much to tip them. The following are my tips for holiday tipping.
At holiday time, it’s appropriate to tip service providers that you see on a regular basis. And avoiding services in December in order to weasel out of tipping someone who provides you with services throughout the year is frowned upon.
Who Should You Tip?
The general rule is that you tip anyone who provides you with regular services throughout the year.
This includes newspaper carriers, hair stylists, elevator operators in your apartment building, babysitters and nannies, the UPS guy that regularly picks up packages from your business, and maybe even your postal carrier.
Some of the people on my tipping list include:
- Woman who does my monthly mani/pedi
- Milk delivery driver
- Schwan guy
- Regular babysitter
- Postal carrier
- Newspaper carrier
Consider your relationship with the person in question.
I have yet to visit the same hairstylist — and I only have my hair trimmed once or twice a year. As a result, holiday tipping isn’t something required by etiquette, although I might tip a little more than normal (in the name of holiday cheer) if I decide to have my hair done in December.
Remember that holiday tipping is a way of showing your appreciation for services rendered — and an indication that you hope to continue the relationship.
How Much Should You Tip?
The next issue, of course, is that of how much to tip.
How much you tip depends on the types of service rendered, as well as how often they are provided. Remember that your holiday tip should be on top of the regular appointment cost plus regular tip.
The Protocol School of Texas, as well as the Emily Post Institute, can provide you with insight into holiday tipping. Here are a few guidelines to help you as you get ready to spread a little love around this holiday season:
- Hairstylist, Manicurist/Pedicurist, Massage Therapist: Your extra holiday tip should amount to the cost of one appointment.
- House Cleaner: Regular house cleaners should receive what amounts to one week of pay as a tip.
- Nanny: Same rule as house cleaners: One week of pay — minimum. Also, it’s a nice touch to have your child give a thoughtful gift.
- Babysitter: We don’t have a nanny, but we have a neighborhood girl who comes over once or twice a month to babysit our son while we go out. With a regular babysitter, you can pay twice as much as usual, or consider giving a gift card of between $25 and $50, depending the sitter’s age, and frequency he or she works for you.
- Dog Walker: When someone walks your dog regularly (or takes care of some other pet) tip one week’s pay.
- Newspaper Carrier: It depends on whether you tip throughout the year. If you don’t tip throughout the year, a bigger tip at the holidays is good idea. In any case, a holiday tip of between $20 and $40 is warranted.
- Delivery Drivers: Regular delivery drivers, such as milk delivery, UPS/FedEx, Schwan’s (and other food delivery) should be tipped between $25 and $50. Consider how often these drivers stop by, and how much they do. If you take a lot of packages from UPS, or send out a lot of packages, you should tip more. Our milk delivery driver comes twice a week, and sometimes has to drop off other items, such as cheese, bread or jam, so $25 doesn’t exactly cut it.
- Building Staff: If you live in a building that features attendants, porters and other service providers, you need to hand the tips around. Consider who helps you most often, and your relationship with that person. Average tipping for the resident manager/super is between $75 and $175; tips for the concierge/doorman should be $50 and $150; the porter should be tipped between $20 and $50; and consider tipping the garage attendant between $25 and $75.
Many people also like to tip a little extra for good service at bars and restaurants, as part of the holidays. Especially if you are a “regular” at an establishment, it doesn’t hurt to be a little more generous.
What About Tipping Public Sector Workers?
Many people like to tip garbage collectors as well. Before you do this, though, you need to find out what the city policy is on this. In some cities, it’s acceptable to tip the garbage collectors (usually when a non-government company is in charge); in other places it’s illegal. Find out what the policy is by calling the entity responsible for garbage pick-up and get ideas of what’s acceptable — and how it can be delivered.
Realize that it’s illegal to give postal workers money. USPS carriers can receive gifts valued at less than $20, however. There are a number of thoughtful gifts priced at less than $20. And, of course, you can always give baked goods.
Usually, tipping a teacher is not encouraged. You can go in with other parents in the class and purchase a big gift card from everyone, or you can provide a small gift from the child.
Last year we gave my son’s teachers (his school teacher and his piano teacher) a small collection of locally-made gourmet preserves. It was unique, and the teachers appreciated them.