Holiday Tipping Guide: Whom to Tip and How Much

Holiday Tipping Guide: Whom to Tip and How Much
Image credit: AP Photo/Paul Sancya
Author, Business Etiquette Expert and Founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach
3 min read
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From the woman who keeps your hair looking awesome to the guy who takes your dog for a walk, there are plenty of people who deserve extra thanks for the holidays.

Related: Office Etiquette: The Rules of Saying Thank You

The guidelines below are a starting point for whom and how much you should tip, though the precise amount depends heavily on your relationship with the person, the quality of their work, the frequency with which you use their services, and most of all, your budget.

Give what you can. Tips are appreciated but not mandatory. If your budget is limited, opt for a small gift and a thank-you note. If you're unsure if someone you've hired can legally receive tips, call the company they work for and ask if there are specific guidelines. Someone in management will also be able to tell you if a cash tip or gift is more appropriate and what amount is customary.

Make a plan. Before you make a run to the bank, make a list of those people who have assisted you regularly. Once you know whom you'd like to thank, make a realistic budget of what you can afford to give. If you live in a major metropolitan area, the expected tipping range is slightly higher. Increase the tip for individuals with whom you have a friendship or those who go above and beyond the call of duty.

Hand-deliver your tip. When possible, deliver your gift in person accompanied by a handwritten card. Freshly printed, crisp bills are ideal. Gifts should be delivered on or before December 25, but may be given whenever you have contact with the person during the holiday season.

Here are some people you may want to consider tipping:

Manicurist: $25 to $50 or a gift

Hair stylist: $50 to $100 or a gift

Barber: Up to the cost of one haircut or a gift

Personal trainer: Up to the cost of one session or a gift

Housekeeper: Up to the cost of one visit

Au pair or live-in nanny: One or two weeks' pay and a gift from your children

Teacher: A gift card or gift certificate for up to $25, or pitch in with some of the other parents and buy a more expensive gift certificate

Day care provider: $20 to $70 each, plus a small gift from your child

Babysitter: An evening's pay, plus a gift from your child

Massage therapist: Up to the cost of one session or a gift

Superintendent: $20 to $80 or a gift, depending on how helpful he or she has been

Doorman: $15 to $100

Mail carrier: Small gift or gift card up to $20

Newspaper carrier: $10 to $30

Sanitation worker: $10 to $30 each for private service; check your local municipality for regulations, as some areas may not allow tipping

Yard or garden worker: $20 to $50 or a gift card

Handyman: $15 to $50 or a gift card

Pool cleaners: Up to the cost of one cleaning or gift card

Dog walker: Up to one week's pay or a gift

Pet groomer: Up to the cost of one session or a gift

Related: What Not to Do When Taking Clients Out to Lunch

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