Holiday Tipping Guide

Tipping is a kind and gracious way to show your appreciation for wonderful service. By going that “extra mile” to show extended gratitude with a tip, the recipient of your act of kindness is more likely to continue providing good service.

The holidays are the “gift-giving season,” when you can acknowledge service rendered throughout the year with a tip or gift between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The area in which you live and your budget will determine the amount of your holiday tip and the people you will give it to.  You should NOT tip doctors, lawyers, dentists, pastors or teachers.  However, you can acknowledge them with a holiday card and/or gift.

Whenever possible, give the tip in person with a handwritten note thanking the individual.  Take time to pick up some crisp new bills and choose the money carefully.  Try to use the largest bill possible to show you took time to prepare your gesture (a $50 bill for a $50 tip or two $20 bills for a $40 tip).  However, it is wise to write a check for any tip you send through the mail. Once you see that the check was cashed, this is your confirmation the tip was received.

The following guide is to help determine how much to tip your service providers:

  • Barber/hairstylist/aesthetician:  Approximate cost of a haircut
  • Manicurist:  Approximate cost of one service
  • Trainer:  Approximate cost of one session
  • Landscaper:  $20 – $25
  • Dog walker:  Approximately one week’s pay
  • Nanny:  Approximately one week’s pay and a gift from the child
  • Babysitter:  Approximately one evening’s pay and a gift from the child
  • Daycare teacher: Consider joining with others to give a substantial monetary gift ($150 – $250)
  • Child’s coach: Non-monetary, a small gift from the child (preferably handmade)
  • Garbage collector:  $10 – $30
  • Housekeeper: Approximately one week’s pay
  • Cleaning service provider:  Approximate cost of one service
  • Valet/parking garage attendant:  $10 – $30
  • Handyman: $20 – $50
  • Newspaper delivery person:  Approximately one month of the subscription price
  • Barista – $10 – $20 if you’re a regular at the local coffee shop, Starbucks or Peete’s Coffee and the attendant knows you by name and begins preparing your latte before you order it.
  • Postal workers are generally prohibited from accepting gifts valued at more than $20, which include cash, checks or liquor.  Some acceptable gifts for mail carriers are perishable items such as food, candy, fruit or flowers and retail gifts cards with a value of less than $20 that cannot be converted to cash.
  • UPS drivers are discouraged from accepting cash or gifts, although there is no official policy.  A box of candy, cookies or something along those lines would be considered appropriate.
  • FedEx employees can accept gifts valued at $75 or less, but gifts of cash in any amount may never be accepted.

This guide is simply a recommendation and certainly, there are exceptions.  Many factors determine who you will tip and the amount you tip. Consider what is customary in your area and the level of service you were provided.

If you regularly tip, you can forego the end of the year tip.  Keep in mind that cash is not the only way to acknowledge good service and to show someone you appreciate them. Whatever you do, it is the thought that counts.

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Tina Hayes is the founder and owner of The School of Etiquette and Decorum in Antioch, CA. As a passionate instructor dedicated to providing quality and professional etiquette training to her clients, Mrs. Tina Hayes promotes the awareness that social presentation and behaviors are important to be successful in today's society for all ages.