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Holiday Tipping and Gifting
There are lots of people who touch your life regularly – your cleaning person, your baby sitter, your hairstylist, your letter carrier, just to name a few. And you know it is customary to give those people a little something extra at the holidays. But who, and how much?
Kiplinger offers a holiday tip sheet, with guidance for rewarding people for excellent service. However, they take care to note first that you are not required to tip, and that a tip should be a reward for exceptional service. Also, you should not tip more than you can afford. If your budget is tight, consider a handmade gift or a note expressing your gratitude and offering to serve as a referral. And even if you do present cash or a check, it is best to put it inside an envelope or a card.
If you choose to tip, though, here are some general guidelines:
Baby sitter. If you are tipping a sitter you use infrequently or in emergencies, an amount equivalent to one or two nights’ pay is appropriate. If you are tipping a nanny, consider a week’s pay and, if the child is old enough, a small token from the child. If you are tipping a day care provider, consider $25 to $75, depending on the circumstances.
Cleaning person. If your cleaning person comes once a week or so, the equivalent of one visit is appropriate; people who clean more often should receive more.
Dog walker and groomer. For the person who walks your dog on a regular basis, consider up to a week’s pay. If you take your dog regularly to the same groomer, an amount equal to half the usual fee is appropriate.
Hairstylist. If you see someone regularly, an appropriate tip is the cost of a styling.
Letter carrier. The U.S. Postal Service prohibits any gift of more than $20.
Teacher. Remember that teachers have many students each year and might have taught for decades; they probably don’t need another “#1 Teacher” mug. Check with the school to make sure there are no restrictions on gifts. Then consider a small gift with a note from the student.
Newspaper delivery person. If your paper regularly ends up on your doorstep and not in your bushes, you could tip $10 to $30.
Personal trainer. If you work regularly with the same trainer, and if you enjoy the experience, a gift of up to $50 or the cost of a session might be appropriate.
In most cases, you can substitute a gift card for cash. However, unless you know the person well enough to know where he or she dines or shops, stick with gift cards that can be spent anywhere for anything.