Holiday Tipping Guide

6 Dec

From babysitters to doormen to hairstylists, here’s some rules for proper Christmas tipping etiquette to ensure jolly holidays all around. Remember: for some a gift is great while for others cash is king. See below for guidance.

Babysitter
Budget: One or two nights pay

What to Gift: You can get away with a tip, but try a gift card instead — it’s like giving cash, yet it’s more personal. If you know her favorite interests, you can give a movie lover a Fandango gift certificate, a music lover an iTunes card, or a college-bound sitter a certificate to Target. Still not sure? A girl of any age loves to shop at Sephora. You can also add a special homemade gift from your child, like a drawing or craft project.

Hint: You don’t need to give an occasional sitter a holiday tip. But if she’s really gone above and beyond the call of duty or if you use the same babysitter often during the year, you should reward her for her hard work.

Budget: One week to one month’s pay (based on tenure) for both a personal gift and tip
What to Gift: Buy something your nanny wouldn’t get for herself like a designer handbag — it should be something that’s a special indulgence.
Hint: Avoid kid-oriented presents like a new baby carrier or diaper bag. You want to reward your nanny for her hard work, not add to it!

Day Care Staff
Budget: $25-$70 for each staff member plus a small gift from your child
What to Gift: Cash and gift cards are the best (and easiest) choices. But you should take the extra time to personalize your present with a card or a holiday tokenthat your child picks out.
Hint: If only one person takes care of your child, you should give more generously, but if there’s an entire staff of people, spread the wealth. In this case, it’s okay to give less to each.

Coach, Activity Instructor
Budget: Less than $25
What to Gift: Remember that these are their jobs, not necessarily their only interests. Try something personal from your child, like a personalized framed photo or a drawing of the entire team.
Hint: If you’re not up for giving a gift, a simple handwritten thank-you note from you and your child is a great way to show your appreciation.

Teacher
Budget: $25-$100
What to Gift: A unique house plant is always welcome. But, you could also get the class to chip in for one big gift that’s more personal — like a cooking class or aKindle Fire.
Hint: Check your school’s policy because gift giving might be against the rules. Gifts are usually given when your child has one teacher all day. Don’t feel obligated to buy presents for everyone.

USPS Mail Carrier
Budget: Non-cash gifts with value up to $20 — civil servants are not allowed to receive cash tips
What to Gift: If you want to reward for delivery through snow, sleet and rain, buy a gift card for a coffee shop near your carrier’s route or a cold weather accessoryfor those tough winter days.
Hint: An added non-cash token of your appreciation could be a glowing letter or email to a supervisor — it might even mean more than a present.

Assistant
Budget: $50 or more; take into account your position in the company and how long the assistant has been with you
What to Gift: Ask around for advice on your assistant’s interests like a certificate to dine at a fine restaurant or another experience to an exciting event. A stylish home accent is nice too.
Hint: Avoid gifts that are too personal like clothes or perfume, and avoid anything too practical. They’re practical for you all year round, this gift should give them a break!
And for the rest of the people in your life…
Give them cash!Don’t worry about the wrapping paper and pretty bows.For these people you can show your appreciation with cold hard cash.

Apartment Doorman:
Budget: $10-$100 eachHint: You don’t have to spread the tips equally—those who serve you more should get a bigger tip.

Building Superintendent:
Budget: $10-$100 eachHint: The IRS considers tips income, but most supers don’t want to declare their Christmas gifts so consider tipping in cash. You can also tip less if you tip throughout the year.

Country Club Staff:
Budget: $50 for your regular servers, locker-room personnel, front-desk employees and golf professionals; $100 for head servers or special serviceHint: Cash tips during the holidays are appropriate regardless of the club’s tipping policy.

Dog Walker:
Budget: One to two week’s payHint: A great way to show your walker that you feel her pain? Also include a gift certificate for a pedicure to cure her tired feet.

Garbage Collector:
Budget: $15-$30Hint: Pay attention to who collects your trash. If your garbage man is really a truck driver who operates a mechanical arm that does all the work, there is no need to tip.

Gardener:
Budget: $20-$50Hint: If you use a service that sends a different gardener each week, don’t worry about tipping.

Hairstylist:
Budget: Cost of one haircutHint: If the same person that cuts your hair, styles, and colors it too, you may want to give more.

Housekeeper:
Budget: Up to one week’s payHint: If you use a cleaning service and never know who shows up, don’t tip at all. But if the same housekeeper comes every week and does a great job, tell her with a holiday tip.

Beautician:
Budget: Cost of one sessionHint: If the person who does your nails is the shop’s owner, they might refuse your cash tip. But trust us, either way the gesture will be appreciated.

Newspaper Carrier:
Budget: $10-$30Hint: If you tip your deliverer throughout the year, give a smaller gift at the holidays. Usually they’ll leave an envelope at your door. If they don’t, ask the company to add a tip to your bill.

Package Delivery (UPS/FedEx):
Budget: Less than $75Hint: Each delivery company has their own rules: FedEx doesn’t allow cash or gifts worth more than $75, but UPS doesn’t have a policy. Don’t get them in trouble, do your homework first!

Personal Trainer:
Budget: $60-$100 upon reaching goal, or cost of one sessionHint: If you’re going to add a gift to your tip, stay away from chocolates, candy or anything that’s not health-conscious.
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