2011 Tipping Tips on Holiday Thanking

‘Tis the season is traditionally the time we choose to thank those who provide us with year-round service. Sometimes figuring who to tip and how much can add to holiday stress.

Holiday spending in any form is supposed to be about showing your heartfelt appreciation for the people you care about and the people who make your life better in some way.

Holiday tipping isn’t about going down a list and rewarding everyone on it with an amount dictated by an etiquette expert.

If you do want to show your appreciation with special tips this holiday season, here is a guide to the people in your life you might consider tipping and how much you should give them.

And when it comes to saying thanks, cash is best.
“Holiday tipping is really holiday thanking,” said Daniel Post, a spokesman for The Emily Post Institute and the great-great grandson of Emily Post.

  • Those on you must tip list are hair stylists, babysitters and tutors. Their holiday bonus should be what you would normally pay for one service.
  • If you have a housekeeper, he or she probably visits your home regularly. You might consider giving him or her a bonus worth one or two weeks of salary.
  • What about your pet groomer, favorite teller or the dry cleaner? Offer a gift everyone can share.
  • Don’t forget about you favorite postal carrier. They are not allowed to accept cash, checks of gifts over $20.
  • If you live in a building with doormen, maintenance men, bellhops or parking attendants, you might consider tipping the ones who assist you on a regular basis. Since you don’t normally pay them, there are no guidelines for these workers. Think about how helpful they are to you and how often you use the services offered when calculating your tip.
  • Your favorite fitness instructor already gets paid out of your gym dues, but if you really appreciate him or her, why not let her know with a small gift card?

Is Holiday Tipping a Media Myth?

If you’re not in the habit of tipping at the holidays, you might wonder if anyone else actually does it. Consumer Reports has some answers to this question in its December 2011 issue. About half of the magazine’s survey respondents tipped their cleaning person, while one third tipped their newspaper carriers, hairdressers/barbers or manicurists. About one quarter tipped their gardener or pet care provider. A smaller percentage of respondents gave gifts instead of tips. In every category except cleaning, more than half of respondents gave nothing. Most tips and gifts were worth $10-$25.
Don’t consider these holiday tipping guidelines to be hard and fast rules. They’re meant to form a framework that you can apply to your own situation and adjust as you see fit. When it comes to how much to give, trust your gut, you know when you’re being cheap, when you’re being reasonable and when you’re being extra generous.

What’s nice about the holidays, if you have these relationships, it’s great to acknowledge it,


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