by Etiquette Expert Diane Gottsman
A holiday tip is customary for those who want to express their gratitude to providers who offer loyal service throughout the year.
Who gets a holiday tip and who can you skip?
Your budget is first priority when deciding who, and how much you should tip this holiday season. Next, think about the service the person provides throughout the year and the frequency of your visits.
Is there a mandatory rule on what to tip?
No. The following suggestions are simply guidelines that will offer recommendations; however, the final decision is up to you. Your tip may vary, depending on your personal relationship with the person.
Boss – Don’t give your boss money, an expensive or overly personal gift. Consider bringing in baked goods, or a small token of seasonal appreciation. The best choice is to start a gift “pool” and collect money from colleagues that want to donate towards a group gift.
Office Assistant – If a bonus isn’t on the radar, give a gift card or gift you are confident your assistant will enjoy. The cost of the gift will be based on the relationship and tenure.
Coworker – Give something that the person collects or enjoys. (i.e. fun office products, coffee mug, flavored instant coffee, hot cocoa, inspirational desk calendar, etc.)
Client – Check the corporate gift giving policy before delivering a holiday gift. When appropriate, give something enjoyable, without a logo. (i.e. gift basket of gourmet foods, wine and cheese, fruit, etc.)
Secret Santa – Stick to the agreed upon dollar amount. Don’t drop the ball. Everyone in the office should participate unless there are religious or cultural reasons.
School – Check school or company policy. Don’t forget to include a gift card and note.
Teacher – Avoid cash. Instead, contribute to a class gift, or gift certificate. Don’t forget the teacher’s aide.
Multiple Teachers Per Grade Level – Give a small gift certificate to each (coffee shop, for example) or baked goods, or class gift pool.
School Secretary – A small gift or gift certificate.
School Nurse – A gift certificate or small gift.
Principal – Home baked goods and a holiday greeting card.
Bus Driver – $25 each
School Lunch Provider(s) – $25 each
Home and Apartment
Doorman – $20 – $100 (more if they provide heavily for you during the year.) Make an attempt to give each doorman the same amount.
Handyman – $20-$100
Garage Attendant – $10-$50
Landlord or Building Manger – $50 upwards
Daily/Weekly Housekeeper – Equivalent to one day’s (or week’s) service.
Newspaper Delivery – $10-$30
Pool Cleaner & Lawn Maintenance – Equivalent to one week’s service.
Trash Collector – Check local regulations for public service employees. If there are no restrictions, $10-$25 per person. Give it to them personally or drop off the gift at their corporate office.
Babysitter – A cash equivalent to one night’s pay or a gift card.
Nanny – One week’s (to one month’s) pay and a gift from your child.
Hair Stylist, Manicurist, Personal Trainer, & Massage Therapist – A tip or gift card equivalent to one visit.
Shampoo Attendant – $5-$10
Pet Groomer – A cash gift equivalent to one service.
Dog Walker – A cash gift equivalent to one day (or one week’s) service.
Home Health Care – Check the corporate gift giving policy. If no restrictions, a gift or gift certificate.
Private Chef – One week’s service.
Barista – $20
Food delivery – $20
Bartender – $20
After school dance instructor, tutor, little league coach – $25 or gift certificate to favorite coffee shop.
Mail & Package Delivery
UPS – UPS Public Relations rep states, “UPS allows drivers to accept a small gift or nominal gratuity – allowing them to use their own judgment on whether or not to accept or decline a gift.”
FedEx – FedEx Global Communications rep states, “Employees can accept a gift valued up to $75, no cash or gift cards.”
USPS – USPS Ethics Counsel rep states, “Mail carriers may not accept cash gifts or cash equivalents. They may accept a gift valued up to $20.”
Skip – You do not “tip” but might want to drop off a tray of cookies or baked goods if you are in for a visit: