With Mike Nudelman and Tanza Loudenback; Megan Willett contributed to an earlier version of this post.
As the holidays approach, it's typical to have questions: What should you get your cousin Katie? Where can you find the perfect sweater for your college roommate's ugly sweater party?
And perhaps most importantly, how much should you tip?
"The holidays are the traditional time to show appreciation for the people who make our lives more pleasant throughout the year," says etiquette expert Patricia Napier-Fitzpatrick of The Etiquette School of New York. "Always show your gratitude in some form, whether it's a monetary gift or a handwritten thank you note."
Here are a few best practices when it comes to holiday tipping, according to Napier-Fitzpatrick:
- If you're going to give cash, it's better to give earlier in the month than later, if possible. The recipients will be using those tips to buy gifts for their own families.
- You don't want to give less than you did last year, unless you truly can't afford to.
- If you have a personal relationship with a service provider, such as your regular hairdresser or housekeeper, you might want to give a more personalized gift in addition to a cash tip.
- If you live in an apartment building and are tipping the building staff, the amount you give depends on how long you've lived there, whether you rent or own, how large your apartment is, and how much you use their services. For instance, if you work from home and get a lot of deliveries, you might want to tip more.
Here, she helped Business Insider outline the appropriate tip amounts for everyone in your life. If you don't see a specific service provider you want to appreciate, a rule of thumb is to tip the cost of one extra service.