Holiday Tipping and Gift Etiquette

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The holiday season is traditionally the time of year where we thank the people who work directly with us and those who provide us with year-round services. It is important to remember that holiday tipping is ultimately about saying thank you in a meaningful way to those you have fostered a relationship with. With the following tips you can accommodate everyone on your good list without breaking the bank.

Tips on Tipping:

Deliver the gift in a nice card with a personal note.
Always give crisp bills when giving a cash gift.
Consider the standard in tipping is now 20%.

How much to Tip:

  • Teacher/Tutor: A gift in the $25 range is appropriate. If you feel your specific teacher would like something your child makes, then go for it. Although, most would appreciate something such as a bookstore or restaurant gift certificate, a picture frame, or a coffee shop gift card. All of these should be accompanied by a hand-written thank you note expressing your appreciation. Gifts are not as common at middle schools and high schools where each child has five or more teachers. You can also join up other parents to give a $100 to $300 gift card.
  • Nanny/Caretaker: A tip equal to one week to one month of pay (based on tenure), plus a small gift from your child.
  • Hairdresser/Barber: As noted for the cleaning service recommendation, consider giving a tip or gift equal to the value of one visit. This guideline only applies to people you see regularly (more than once a month). Otherwise, a 20% tip per visit without an additional holiday tip is standard.
  • Trainer/Massage Therapist/Aesthetician: Same as above.
  • Housekeeper/(Cleaning Service Provider): The suggested amount for this provider is the value of one visit. If you usually pay $100 per week, then give at least an extra $100 around the holidays.
  • Landscaper/Gardener: $20 to $50 is customary. If he or she comes frequently, give up to a week worth of pay.
  • Dog Walker: One week’s pay and/or a gift. While tips are more customary, if you cannot afford this, give them a gift from your dog. A hat, gloves, or a massage certificate are all thoughtful gift options.
  • Letter Carrier/Package Courier: While nothing is necessarily expected, if you have a friendly relationship with your carrier, then a small gift or gift card in the $20 range is a nice gesture. Note: Postal workers cannot receive cash or gifts worth more than $20.
  • FedEx allow tips or a gift worth up to $75, and UPS does not have an official policy.
  • Boss: The majority of the time, it is not expected or appropriate to buy a gift for your boss. It can appear as “kissing up.” Your judgment is important here. Organizing a group gift with other workers is nice, as long as it is not too expensive.

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