Holiday Tipping

By | December 28, 2009

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When the holidays come, the first things that usually comes to mind are gifts, receiving and giving. There’s no question for the former, but for the latter, we always ask the same questions. Who do we give gifts/money to? And how much should we give to these people?

Well, there are no set rules for who to give and how much to give. It all depends on you. You can give tips or even not give tips at all. Tipping is customary, but not required.

Every time I go to a restaurant or pay for a service, I give tips, regardless if the server was good or bad, because I feel obligated. Sometimes, I feel tipping is overrated, because, personally, I think tipping should be reserved for the people who has done an exceptional job, otherwise it defeats the purpose of tipping.

For example, I give money to the people who worked in my building, because I feel that they work hard. These are the people who pick up trash, wash windows, clean floors, open doors, pick up mail, and repair broken things to keep the building in good working order. I feel they deserve a little reward, so I give them tips every year.

For the past few years, I had given the people in my building a holiday gift in total of $200 in cash. However, since I was not working for half of the year, hence, less income, I could not afford to give my usual $200. This year, because of a smaller budget, I gave to them a total of $100 in cash, which they’ll divide amongst themselves.

When giving tips, I usually consider my budget, the length and quality of the serviced performed. If I had a personal assistant, and he/she did a fabulous job over the year, then I would lean towards a higher tip. If he/she did a bad job, I would give him/her a negative tip, or deduct pay from him/her. Just kidding. That person shouldn’t be working for me in the first place.

In any case, no one should feel obligated to give tips. Tips should come from your heart. If you feel that you were treated well, you should give a reward to the best of your abilities. If you need some help, below are some tips and examples.

The Holiday Tipping Guide from Suite101 suggests Five Factors to Utilize in Calculating Holiday Tip Amounts:

  1. Service quality and schedule – Do you see the provider on a weekly basis (as you would a lawncare crew) or is the service only every six weeks and varying? Is your child’s teacher an all-time favorite? Does your hairdresser suggest new styles and take extra time with you? Does your childcare provider take the time to relate amusing happenings with your child? It’s often the small, thoughtful gestures throughout the year that urge us to remember providers with extra appreciation during the holidays.
  2. Depth of relationship – Consider your relationship with the provider. Do you look forward to seeing them? Do they add a smile to your day? Do they increase your comfort level? Are they irreplaceable? Do you relate personal stories to them? If you are aware of their favorite items or have spoken about favorite beverages, teams or hobbies; keep these in mind for more personalized holiday gifts.
  3. Area norms – If you are new to the area or region, ask local residents what the appropriate amounts are. Tip amounts will vary greatly between rural and city areas. Take the cost of living as well as current economic conditions into account when gauging a proper gratuity amount.
  4. Length of working relationship – If you encounter this provider on a daily basis, a larger tip would be appropriate. A longer relationship may prompt a more personal gift than a standard gratuity. If the relationship is newly forming, the tip that you provide could lay the foundation for excellent service in the coming year.
  5. Establishment style– Consider the type of establishment, is it extremely formal or laid back and casual? Ask other clients what an appropriate tipping range would be for the establishment.

Emily Post from The Emily Post Institute suggests the following:

  • Au pair or live-in nanny – One week’s pay and a gift from your child(ren).
  • Regular babysitter – One evening’s pay and a small gift from your child(ren).
  • Day care provider – A gift from you or $25-$70 for each staff member and a small gift from your child(ren).
  • Live-in help (nanny, cook, butler, housekeeper) – One week to one month of pay as a cash tip, plus a gift from you.
  • Private nurse – A thoughtful gift from you.
  • Home health employees – A thoughtful gift from you. (If gift-giving is not against company policy.)
  • Housekeeper/Cleaner – Up to the amount of one week’s pay and/or a small gift.
  • Nursing home employees – A gift that could be shared by the staff (flowers or food items).
  • Barber – Cost of one haircut or a gift.
  • Beauty salon staff – The cost of one salon visit  divided for each staff member who works with you. Give individual cards or a small gift each for those who work on you.
  • Personal trainer – Up to the cost of one session or a gift.
  • Massage therapist – Up to the cost of one session or a gift.
  • Pet groomer – Up to the cost of one session or a gift.
  • Dog walker – Up to one week’s pay or a gift.
  • Personal caregiver – Between one week to one month’s salary or a gift.
  • Pool cleaner – The cost of one cleaning to be split among the crew.
  • Garage attendants – $10-30 or a small gift
  • Newspaper delivery person – $10-30 or a small gift
  • Mail carrier – Small gift in the $20 range.United States Postal Service may not receive cash gifts, checks, gift cards, or any other form of currency.
  • Package deliverer – Small gift in the $20 range. Most delivery companies discourage or prohibit cash gifts.
  • Superintendent – $20-80 or a gift
  • Doorman – $15-80. $15 or more each for multiple doormen, or a gift.
  • Elevator operator – $15-40 each
  • Handyman – $15 to $40
  • Trash/Recycling collectors – $10-30 each
  • Yard/Garden worker – $20-50 each
  • Teachers – A small gift or note from you as well as a small gift

Do you believe in tipping? Tell us who do you give holiday tips to and how much.

2 thoughts on “Holiday Tipping

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