Amid all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s easy to overlook one important task: Tipping the people who make your life easier throughout the year.
Seventy percent of families plan to hand out cash around the holidays, Care.com‘s holiday tipping survey found, with 34% expecting to spend between $101 and $250 in total. Of the 30% of people who don’t tip, 41% say it’s because they can’t afford to do so and 29% say it’s because they forgot. Thirty-four percent don’t believe holiday tips are necessary.
The latter group might seem like Grinches, but they’re not entirely wrong. Tipping extra around the holidays isn’t mandatory, though it is a nice gesture.
“I think of it as an opportunity to say ‘thank you’ rather than an obligation,” Peter Post, director of The Emily Post Institute, told CNN. Holiday tipping is more common, and tips tend to be higher, in large cites, according to the Emily Post Institute.
A good rule of thumb is to give a little extra to any service providers you work with throughout the year, like a house cleaner, personal trainer, barber, landscaper, or babysitter. Apartment doormen and building supervisors are also usually on the to-tip list. You don’t need to tip professionals like your accountant, doctor, or your child’s teacher (and they probably won’t accept a gratuity if it’s offered), though thoughtful gifts are nice. Whether you tip or give a gift, make sure you include a card with a personal note.
As far as how much to hand over, you should never give more than you can afford, but keep in mind that some workers may be counting on extra tips at the end of the year to get them through the holidays. You can keep your budget intact and avoid snubbing someone by planning for tips ahead of time.
“[I]f you can afford to employ a personal trainer or lawn service in the first place, you need to account for their end-of-the-year tip in your budget,” Maralee McKee, author of Manners That Matter for Moms, noted.
Ultimately, who to tip and how much to give are matters of personal choice. But if you are going to embrace holiday tipping and gift giving, you want to make sure you’re being fair and not overlooking anyone who deserves a little something extra. In addition to your doorman or hair stylist, consider slipping a little cash in an envelope or wrapping up a thoughtful gift for the following 10 people.
1. Uber driver
A big part of Uber’s appeal is that it’s cashless – there’s no need to fumble with bills and attempt to drunkenly calculate how much of a tip you should give your driver. That said, Uber drivers are allowed to accept tips and many will appreciate it if you throw them a few extra bucks, especially around the holidays. After all, they did get you home safely from the office Christmas party.
2. Nanny or babysitter
Could you survive without your nanny, regular babysitter, or day care provider? We didn’t think so. One week’s pay is an appropriate way to show your appreciation if you have a live-in nanny, according to the Emily Post Institute, while the equivalent of one night’s pay should do for your regular babysitter. Tip between $25 and $70 for each staff person at your child’s day care center. You might also want to have your child give their caregiver a small gift, perhaps something they made themselves.
3. Personal trainer
Your trainer is helping you fight the holiday bulge and stay healthy, so it’s only fitting you recognize their efforts. Tip your personal trainer between $50 and the cost of a session, especially if you have a long-standing relationship or if they’ve gone above and beyond this year, according to Kiplinger. The same goes for your yoga instructor or massage therapist, particularly if they’re coming to see you at your home.
4. Cleaning person
Your house looks perfect for your holiday party, and it wouldn’t be that way without the help of your cleaning person. To recognize their efforts to make your home sparkle, give a tip equivalent to one week’s pay, according to the Emily Post Institute. If you know your house cleaner well or she’s worked with you for a long time, a gift might also be appropriate.
5. Your favorite barista
Does your regular barista remember your name and know your special order by heart? An extra $20 is a good way to say thank you and recognize his extra efforts.
“I had a customer who got my name wrong for a YEAR and then she gave each of us a card with $20 in it for Christmas and she was my favorite customer forever and I always gave her the star treatment after that,” a former barista in this MetaFilter thread said.
6. Dog walker or pet groomer
Only 14% of people surveyed by Care.com tip their dog walker or pet groomer. That means opening up your wallet now could put you in their good graces for the coming year. The Emily Post Institute’s holiday tipping guidelines suggest giving the equivalent of one week’s pay or one session, or a small gift.
7. Letter carrier or package delivery person
Your letter carrier is busy around the holidays, and it’s nice to remember him or her at this time. But don’t just hand them a card stuffed with a few bills. USPS employees aren’t allowed to accept cash or gift cards that can be exchanged for cash, though they can accept gifts worth less than $20.
FedEx drivers are also not allowed to accept cash, though gifts worth up to $25 are acceptable, according to Coupon Sherpa. UPS drivers are discouraged from accepting gratuities, but modest tips and gifts around the holidays are fine. In all cases, cookies and other small tokens of appreciation will likely be welcome, especially if your delivery person has been making daily package drop offs since Black Friday.
8. Nursing home employee or home health care worker
You likely want to show your appreciation to the people who care for your loved ones, but a cash gift is usually not appropriate for nursing home workers, nurses, home health aides, and other health care professionals. However, they might appreciate a small gift, or you can deliver cookies or another item to the front desk for all employees to enjoy, according to the Emily Post Institute. If you’re unsure about what workers can and can’t accept, check to see what the official company policy is regarding gifts.
9. Gift wrapper
Producing perfectly wrapped gifts is an art. If you’ve decided to avail yourself of a pros service rather than struggling with a roll of paper and tape yourself, don’t forget to show your appreciation with a small tip. At San Francisco’s Ace Gift Wrapping Service, tipping is at the customer’s discretion, but gratuities are gratefully accepted. Real Simple recommends tipping $1 to $2 per gift.
If you’re taking advantage of a store’s complimentary gift-wrapping service, tips may or may not be accepted, so ask, according to Good Housekeeping. At charity gift-wrapping stations, you don’t need to tip, but can hand over a few extra dollars as an additional donation.
10. Christmas tree wrangler
A fresh-cut tree is one of the joys of the holiday season for many people. If a worker at the Christmas tree lot helps you cut down the tree, bag it, or tie it to the roof of your car, reward them with a modest tip. Anywhere from $5 to $20 is appropriate, according to Real Simple, depending on the amount of help they provide.