A Short Guide to Holiday Tipping

Don’t let tipping get out of hand, but don’t neglect anyone, either.

By FamilyTime

 At this time of year, we seem to open our wallets with startling frequency. And of course we do! Gifts, holiday entertaining, travel, and decorations all require money, money and more money.

It’s also the time when we should tip those who help us all year long. And when we say “tip,” we usually -- but not always -- mean cash gifts.

If you are unsure about who to tip and what to give them, we have compiled a short guide. Customs vary regionally, so please use these ideas only as they apply to your part of the country and your needs.

Babysitter: If you rely on one or two primary sitters, tip them well and include a small gift, too. Teenage sitters will be happy with $40 or $50 and perhaps a gift card to their favorite store or coffee shop, or a simple gift such as a pretty scarf.

Building superintendent
: Tip generously. Even if you have not had to call on this valuable person in the last year, you never know what lies ahead! Check with the building committee to discover the policy. Your building might pool the gifts.

Cleaning help: If you employ a single person or a service to help you keep your house in order, tip them at least week’s pay and include a small gift of appreciation as well, if you think it’s appropriate.

Garbage collectors: These folks should be tipped $20 to $40.

Hairdresser and personal trainer: Tip the people who keep you looking good all year the price of a cut and styling or one session.

Handyman and gardener: Give them a cash gift ranging from $20 to $50.

Mailman: Federal law does not allow federal employees to accept gifts worth more than $20 and it cannot be cash.

Paper delivery person: Give the person who tosses your morning paper on your lawn a cash tip of $20 or $30.

Teachers: Small gifts are appreciated but unless the school system sanctions it, cash is not an appropriate gift. In some classrooms, parents get together to buy a gift for the teacher. In others, any gifts are frowned upon.

It’s always a nice idea to include a card with a short, handwritten note when you give the tip. Keep it simple and short, unless there is something specific you want to say. Whatever you give and say, the recipient will appreciate it.