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2012 Guide To Holiday Tipping

Monday, December 10, 2012

 

Once again, it is that time of year… time to buy presents and ponder who to tip and how much to tip them. It can be overwhelming and confusing, not to mention difficult when money is tight.  GoLocalProv spoke to Jennifer Adams Galipeau, CHE, Associate Professor at the Hospitality College at Johnson & Wales University, for 10 tips on holiday tipping.



 

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It's a gift

You are not obliged to tip at the holidays

While it may be customary, the “etiquette police” aren’t going to arrest you if you fail to give a tip or give less this year than last, because money is tight.

A holiday tip is intended to show appreciation for work and services provided throughout the year. In reality, a holiday tip is a gift, one that should leave you feeling the “joy of giving.” The most important aspect is being thoughtful of another person who you value.

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Who should get a tip?

Two holiday tipping categories

There are two main categories to consider.

Those service providers that you normally tip for their services – such as hairdressers, manicurists, etc.

Those service providers that are not normally tipped but upon whom you rely throughout the year – such as a babysitter, housekeeper or the newspaper carrier.

In both categories, someone who has provided regular service to you or your family throughout the year is someone you would want to consider tipping, especially in recognition for the times when they have gone above and beyond to meet your needs. Photo: The Plunge Project

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When tipping is not okay

How to thank them anyway

In some situations, company or government policies may prohibit a service provider from accepting a tip in the form of money.  For example, mail carriers working for the US Postal Service are prohibited from accepting cash or cash equivalents such as gift cards….but if you want to give a small box of chocolates, that might be very much appreciated (so long as the dollar value of the chocolates is under $20.)

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How much to tip?

Easy holiday tipping math

An easy rule of thumb to remember is that the tip should be equal to the cost of “one service” provided.  From that starting point, the amount might be adjusted upwards for an extraordinary level of service or downward to fit within one’s personal budget.

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Home services tipping

They help your home run smoothly

Here are some specific tip ranges for those folks who provide services around your household:

Housekeeper  1 week’s pay

Nanny  1 week’s pay + a small gift from child

Newspaper Carrier  $15 to $30

Package Carrier   $15

Home Caregiver  1 week’s pay

Babysitter  the equivalent of one evening’s pay

Private Sanitation workers  $5-$10 each

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Personal services tipping

The folks who make you (and your pet!) look and feel good

Don't forget the men and women who provide personal services throughout the year. Here are some good ranges for holiday tipping:

Fitness Trainer  Cost of one session

Pet groomer  50% to the full cost of one service

Hairstylist  50% to the full cost of one service

Manicurist  $10 - $15

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Don't forget the garage!

Parkers, pay attention!

Do you take advantage of a private lot or garage at work every day? Consider thanking the parking garage attendents with a $20 tip. That's a great thank you for taking care of your vehicle, day in and day out, year-round. Photo: Jef Nickerson/flickr

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Tipping on a budget

Plan ahead

Money is tight, but you want to do the right thing.

Save a little each month. Perhaps the easiest to aspire too…but the hardest to actual follow through on, is to create a personal “Holiday Tip” fund and set aside some money each month toward end of the year tips.  This approach lessens the sticker shock at the end of the year.

For this year, make a set-aside for the next 3 weeks and you'll feel the pinch less right before the holiday.

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Tipping on a budget II

Give as a group

When appropriate, give as a group. When tipping some like daycare providers or teachers, for example, consider collecting donations from all of the families, and then giving the tip on behalf of the group, with a nice card signed by everyone.

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Tipping on a budget III

Make it personal

If you do give less, include a note.  Not of explanation of why you can’t be as generous, but rather a personal note, letting the service provider know how much you appreciate their efforts.  It is always an option to include a small gift…but say no to the holiday junk…no one really wants a Santa Holiday Mug full of candy.  Really. Photo: Candy101.com

 
 

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