There are several factors to consider in the midst of the seasonal merriment, including your personal budget, your loyalty to the particular person and how often you use their service.
In today’s blog, I will be covering a few not-so-common tipping scenarios. For example, the car wash attendant who always gives you an extra spritz of cherry scent. Or, the rental delivery professional handling your annual cocktail gala setup. Not to mention the trash collectors you never see but are grateful they always firmly secure your lid to your trash receptacle. And let’s not forget the holiday light expert you have relied on for five years in a row.
Below you will find the answers to your holiday tipping questions, and a few more. For a detailed list of general recommendations, refer to my comprehensive Tipping Guide in preparation for the upcoming season.
Car Wash Attendant
If you visit the car wash on a regular basis and know the staff by name, consider a tray of cookies for all to enjoy. If there is a particular employee that always gives you exceptional service, hand them an envelope with $5-$10 cash and a note of thanks (check the policy in advance).
Food Delivery, Bartender, Furniture Movers, Cable Installer, Light Stringer, Plumber, Triple AAA Driver, Tow Truck and Various Other Vendors
You are not obligated to “holiday” tip just because you are in contact with them. Of course, a tip of $5-$10 for their regular service would be appropriate any time of year.
Review the policy first as many stores do not allow their employees to accept tips at any time of year. If a tip is permitted, a $5 bill and a cheery “Happy Holidays” will make their day.
Refer to local regulations. If there are no restrictions, leave an envelope with $10-$25 per crew member at the corporate office. Do NOT leave the cash on the lid of the trash can as it can be stolen.
Principal of School
Teachers are routinely given gifts, but parents remain in a quandary about the head of school. Skip the cash but deliver a handwritten card of appreciation and a dose of holiday cheer. Feel free to add a tray cookies or a basket of goodies for the office staff.
In Store Gift Wrapper
If there is a tip jar, consider $1 per package and know that it will likely be divided among the team at the end of the shift.
School Nurse/Cafeteria Workers
Often overlooked, they provide an important service to children who are in special need of assistance for medical and food related reasons. If the district allows a tip, consider enclosing $20 in a holiday card.
Five Ways to Elevate the Tipping Experience:
- Make a list of people you absolutely can’t afford to miss. “Pay as you go.” When you see them, deliver the tip. If you don’t cross paths during the holiday and they weren’t marked as a high priority on your list, you may not need to gift them after all.
- Don’t feel guilty. A tip is subjective and if it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.
- Give cash. When permissible, it’s easier to use (spend) immediately without an extra trip to the bank.
- Use an envelope. The best tip comes in a holiday card; enclose yours in an envelope of some kind. But, don’t let that rule stop you if you run into someone that deserves your goodwill, like a person who helped you shovel snow or a Good Samaritan that changed your tire. Do not hesitate to thank them in the form of a tip.
- Fresh bills make a striking impression. When possible, give clean, new bills that have not been overly handled, bent or folded.
For more on tipping etiquette, refer to Holiday Tipping Guide: Thoughts on Expressing Gratitude (via the Huffington Post).