“Who Should I Tip For the Holidays?”: A Guide to Holiday Tipping Etiquette

The holidays are in full-swing, and that means it’s time to take out crisp, fresh bills from the bank for your holiday tipping.  One question I am asked quite often this time of year is “Who should I tip for the Holidays?”  Before you start spreading the holiday cheer, refer to my holiday tipping etiquette recommendations below.  You may be surprised to learn you’ve “tipped” when you should have “skipped” or “gifted.”

Private Healthcare Nurse – Tip or Gift.

Show your gratitude for the care provided to your loved one(s)by gifting a certificate to a favorite store or restaurant, or give a tip equivalent to one week’s pay.

Your Child’s School Bus Driver – Gift.

When pulling together the perfect gift for your child’s teacher, remember to put just as much time and effort into personalizing something for his or her friendly school bus driver.  After all, they help to get the school day off on the right foot for your child and safely bring them home to you each day.  Be sure to check with your local school district on their gift policy for bus drivers.

Your Personal Trainer – Tip.

Thank him or her for keeping you in top form for the holidays with a tip equivalent to one session.

Your Dog Walker – Tip.

He or she will appreciate a tip equal to one session more than your famous holiday cookies.

Your Accountant – Skip. 

This one goes without saying, but tipping your accountant is a definite “skip.”

Your Child’s School Secretary – Gift.

She will appreciate a handmade gift and card from little Susie more than a cash gift from mom or dad.  Not to mention, it’s most likely against school policy.

Your Administrative Assistant – Gift a bonus, not a tip.

Thank him or her for a job well done with a bonus equivalent to one week’s pay.  Sorry, a crisp $50 bill won’t do the trick!

Your Favorite Flight Attendant – Skip.

A warm smile and “thank you” will brighten his or her day.

Your Hair Stylist – Tip.

He or she keeps you looking your best year-round…show your thanks with a tip equal to the cost of your usual service.

Your Weekly Housekeeper – Tip.

A clean, orderly home is something to be treasured! Thank your housekeeper with a tip equivalent to one week’s pay.  A personal gift will surely be enjoyed as well, but don’t skip on the tip.

Your U.S. Postman – Gift (under $20 value).

Government regulations allow for a small non-monetary gift worth less than $20.  Skip on the tip. 

As always, refer to my downloadable Holiday Tipping Guide for a comprehensive list of my tipping recommendations, or refer to my complete Holiday Tipping Etiquette post for quick reference.

Happy Holidays,


Diane Gottsman

Diane Gottsman is a national etiquette expert and modern manners professional, sought out industry leader, television personality, accomplished speaker, Huffington Post blogger, author, and the owner of The Protocol School of Texas, a company specializing in executive leadership and etiquette training. Diane is routinely quoted in national and international media including The New York Times, The BBC, CNN, Bloomberg Business Week, Kiplinger, Huffington Post Canada, U.S. News and World Report, and Forbes. She is the resident etiquette expert for two popular morning talk shows, SA Living and Good Day Austin. She has been seen on The TODAY Show, HLN Headline News, WGN Chicago, and CBS Sunday Morning. Her clients range from university students to Fortune 500 companies and her workshops cover topics ranging from tattoos in the workplace to technology at the dinner table and the proper use of social media.

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