holiday tipping guide

Tips for Holiday Tipping: An Essential Guide


It’s that time of year again – the holidays! The holidays are a time of joy and celebration, but they can also be a source of stress, especially when it comes to tipping. Who do you tip? How much should you give? In this article, we’ll address these questions and provide a helpful guide for proper holiday tipping etiquette.

Who Do You Tip?

When it comes to holiday tipping, there are certain people who should always be at the top of your list. These include your mail carrier, hairdresser, barber or stylist, house cleaner, dog groomer/walker, massage therapist, personal trainer, and babysitter. Some other people you may want to consider tipping include your doorman or building manager (especially if they provide extra services like accepting packages), parking attendant or valet (if applicable), garbage collector (if garbage is collected by an individual rather than a company), and newspaper delivery person.

How Much Should You Tip?

The amount you tip depends on the service provided and your budget – so use your best judgment! Generally speaking, if someone provides ongoing services throughout the year (like a house cleaner or hairdresser) then $20-$50 per person is an appropriate amount. For one-time services like babysitting or snow shoveling ($10-$20 per person is a nice gesture). If someone has gone above and beyond in their service (like accepting multiple packages from couriers on your behalf), feel free to give more than what is suggested above.

When it comes to deciding how much to give in tips during the holidays, there is no hard and fast rule but here are some general guidelines:

  1. Cash tips should range from $20-$50 depending on the level of service provided by the individual throughout the year; for instance, if someone provides exceptional service, then consider going towards the higher end of this range.
  2. Gift cards should be at least $25-$50; if you want to give something more personal than cash but still want to spend less than that amount, consider making homemade treats like cookies or baked goods instead.
  3. Gifts should be thoughtful and tailored towards each individual’s interests; for example if your mail carrier loves gardening then consider getting them something related to that such as gardening gloves or tools.

helpful guide for proper holiday tipping etiquette.

Who To Tip And How Much

This will vary depending on where you live and what services are used in your household, but here are some common people who may expect a holiday tip:

  • Cleaning person – If you have someone regularly cleaning your home, consider giving them a holiday bonus as a token of your appreciation.  Tip your regular house cleaner the equivalent of one week’s salary.
  • Hairstylist – Showing appreciation for those who do our hair and nails can be tricky since there is no standard tipping rate for these services; however, most people opt to give their hairdresser/barber the cost of one session (including tax) as an added bonus during the holidays.  If you only go a few times a year, doubling your usual tip on services for the holidays is fine.
  • Dog walker – Tip your dog walker the equivalent of one day’s pay.
  • Pet groomer – Tip your pet groomer the amount you’d pay for one grooming session.
  • Trash collectors – Tip your regular trash and recycling collectors $10 to $30 each.
  • Landscaper – If you use a landscaper or gardener regularly, you should tip him one week’s pay. If you use him occasionally, a $10 to $50 tip is fine.
  • Handyman- If you have a regular handyman, you should tip him $15 to $40.
  • Doorman – If you live in a building with a doorman, you should tip him between $20 and $100.
  • Parking attendant – If you have a regular parking attendant, tip him $20 to $30.
  • Nanny/Au pair – If you have a nanny or au pair, tip her the equivalent of one to two weeks’ pay.
  • Babysitter –Consider giving your regular babysitter or nanny one week’s worth of pay as a holiday bonus. If they only come occasionally, a small gift or cash equivalent could suffice.
  • Day care providers – Cash or a gift for each staff member who works with your children of about $25-$70.
  • Teachers – Don’t tip your child’s teacher; buy a present or give a gift card instead.
  • Assistants – Don’t tip your assistant; buy her a gift or give a gift card.
  • Private nurses – Don’t tip home health employees or private nurses, who may not be allowed to accept tips. Instead offer a thoughtful gift.
  • Mail carrier – Although it is not required to tip your mail carrier, it is appropriate and appreciated. They are not allowed to accept tips, cash, checks or gift cards. They can only accept small gifts worth no more than $20 such as travel mugs, hand warmers, etc.) They can also accept snacks and beverages or perishable gifts that are not part of a meal. Perishable items worth more (large fruit baskets or cookie tins) must be shared with the entire branch. 
  • Nursing home employees – Check company policy first. Don’t give cash. Instead opt for a gift such as flowers or food items, which can be shared by the staff.
  • Personal care providers – If you have someone who takes care of your elderly parents or other loved ones, consider giving them a small gift or cash equivalent as well.
  • Personal trainer – Up to the cost of one session or a gift.
  • Massage therapist – Up to the cost of one session or a gift.
  • Pool cleaner – The cost of one cleaning to be split among the crew. 
  • Building superintendent – $20-80 or a gift.
  • Elevator operator – $15-40 each.

When Should You Tip?

Ideally everyone should be tipped before the holiday season is over; however if that isn’t feasible for whatever reason then anytime within the next month would work too. Just try not to wait until after January 1st as that could come across as being rude or insensitive. Lastly remember to always thank them for their hard work throughout the year! They will definitely appreciate it!

General Holiday Tipping Guidelines

Tipping during the holidays is a nice way to show your appreciation to people who have given you great service throughout the year. The amount of the tip should be guided by common sense, your budget circumstances and the holiday spirit.

  1. Tips should be in the form of crisp, new bills (checks are okay) and need to be accompanied by holiday card or thank-you card.
  2. You should give your tip or gift in person.
  3. Holiday tips can be given any time between Thanksgiving Day and New Year’s Day.
  4. You shouldn’t feel obligated to go beyond your personal budget. If your budget does not allow for tips, consider giving a homemade gift.
  5. Any gift or tip should always be accompanied by a short handwritten note (two or three sentences) of appreciation.
  6. When in doubt, ask: Call the front desk or main office of the service provider and ask what gifts can be accepted by the company, and what is typical from other customers.

Holiday Tipping Conclusion

Tipping during the holidays can seem overwhelming but with our guide hopefully we have made it less stressful for you! Remember to think about who has provided consistent service throughout the year — those people should get priority on your list — as well as anyone who has gone above and beyond in their service. Most importantly don’t forget to express gratitude – everyone loves feeling appreciated! With these tips in mind you’ll be sure to make everyone’s holidays merry and bright! Happy Holidays Everyone!!

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