Holiday Tipping Guide

People who care for our loved ones and those who provide services to us play important roles in our lives. We should tip them well to show our appreciation. But whom should you tip? And how much? Below are a few suggestions for tipping (and gift-giving) from Sheila Marcelo of and other sources.

General Considerations Regarding Tipping

– Budget: Don’t feel obligated to go beyond your personal budget. Consider homemade gifts.
– A short, handwritten thank-you note should accompany any gift.
– Do you already tip regularly? Forego an end-of-the-year tip, and give a small gift.
– Consider quality and frequency of service and relationship with the provider.
– Tip for personalized service.
– Tip for exceptional service.

Who should I tip? And how much?

– Nannies and au pairs: Give a full-time nanny 10-15 percent of one week’s pay.
– Regular babysitter: One or two night’s pay to the equivalent of a week of service (depending length of service).
– Coaches, tutors and instructors: A gift card or gift from your child. It’s also possible to organize a group gift with parents of children the person serves.
– Day care provider: A gift from your child or $25-$70 for each staff member that works with your child.
– Dog walkers and groomers: One to two week’s pay for a dog walker and about half a session’s worth for your regular groomer.
– Home-care attendants: One week’s pay. Give two weeks for extra special care or long-term service.- — Live-in help such as a cook or housekeeper: One week to one month of pay plus a gift.

Other people you should tip:

– School bus drivers: An often-overlooked category during the holidays. A $10 gift certificate and a card signed by your children is a nice “something extra.”
– Delivery people and garbage collectors: A card with a $10 gift certificate.
– Maintenance people: For regular services around your home related to landscaping, construction or other maintenance 10-15 percent extra in their December bill.
– Housekeepers: An extra week’s pay during the holiday season. For occasional tidying up, a verbal, “Happy Holidays!”
– Baristas/clerks: Some of us have those regular spots that we visit daily for our morning coffee or bagel. If you’re used to seeing the same person and they give you great service, say thanks! Buy them a cup and give them a card.
– Restaurants and wait staff: A 15 percent tip for service is typical. For exceptional service, 20 percent is appropriate.

Gift Giving and Parties

– Hosting a party at a venue: If you are paying a venue to host a party, but there are service providers assisting you, such as waitpersons, babysitters, etc., tip them 15 percent of an estimated $10-$12 an hour. For example, if you bring along two babysitters to help you manage a party, tip those sitters. Some venues may include a gratuity for their staff. Be sure to check in advance.
– Workplace gift exchanges and showers: Most companies that plan gift exchanges over the holidays suggest $20 or $25 gifts for your secret co-worker exchange.

The holidays are a wonderful time to show our gratitude to those who help us throughout the year. Remember, though, that if you are struggling financially, an inexpensive personal gift for caregivers or a thank-you note written by you or your child goes a long way.

Categories: Family, Family Life, Finance, Lifestyle, Money, Work-Life