2012 Guide To Holiday Tipping
Monday, December 10, 2012
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.
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
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.)
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.
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
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
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
Tipping on a budget
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.
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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