The holidays are upon us and it’s the perfect time of year to thank the people who help make our lives easier throughout the year, but who do we tip and how much? Here’s a cheat sheet, but keep in mind that the very nature of tipping is that it’s not supposed to be expected. Give more if you want or less with a heartfelt note if your budget just won’t allow. Here’s how to say thank you to the following people:
Teachers: This is one instance where cash is especially unacceptable because it comes off as bribery. Opt for another type of generous gift, but skip anything with apples or “World’s Best Teacher” written on it! If a group of school employees (in addition to your child’s teacher) goes out of their way to give your kid the best, send them a shareable fruit, snack or gift basket. Tutors, coaches, bus drivers and others of particular importance in your child’s life can be given a gift valued at about $20.
Childcare Providers: Tip your babysitter or nanny about what you’d normally pay for one evening’s care, or one week’s pay.
Housekeeper: Give cash in the amount of a single standard cleaning. (Skip the gift cards.)
Manicurist and/or Hair Stylist: You have your choice with these service providers. You can either give a personal gift, a gift card, or cash. If you opt for cash, your tip should be equal to about the amount you spend during one visit.
Doorman: If there’s more than one, tip $15 or more each. If there’s only one, tip $50 or more.
Mail Carrier: The Post Office frowns on employees accepting cash or gifts over $25, so give them a tangible gift just under that amount.
Landscaper: If the same person tends to your yard each time, give him or her $20. If the same team takes care of your lawn, tip $10 to $20 per person.
Pet Groomer: Give this person the amount you spend in one typical visit.
Newspaper Delivery Person: If you are one of the rare few that still get the paper delivered, don’t skimp on your delivery person’s tip! He or she wakes up well before the sun and ventures out in all kinds of weather. Give him/her at least $30.
Massage Therapist: Tip this person the amount of one visit.
Personal Trainer: Give this person a cash gift in the amount of one week’s services.
Your Favorite Server: If you’re a regular at a particular coffee shop or restaurant and receive excellent service from a specific employee, thank that person with gift of about what you usually spend.
Anyone who delivers goods to you on a regular basis, like groceries or UPS packages, should get $20. The same goes for regular service persons, like anyone who provides pool service or pest control. If the same person collects your trash each time, they should also get $20. In any case, if a different person or crew provides you with a service every time, a tip is unnecessary.
If you’re unlucky enough to have to see your doctor or mechanic on a regular basis, send an edible gift to your doctor (They’re not allowed to receive cash.) and tip your mechanic $20.
Of course, this is a pretty long list of people and it really does add up. If funds are limited, tip the individuals you know need the extra money the most. Put your tip in a Christmas card and hand it directly to the recipient whenever possible. Write a sincere thank you note inside because this person’s service obviously makes your life easier all year round.
However, don’t wait until Christmas to give your gift; remember the earlier in the month is better and would be appreciated.