The Ultimate Guide for Holiday Tipping Etiquette
While holiday tipping may not be obligatory, it’s certainly a nice gesture to show you care. Take out the guesswork of how much to give with these pointers.
Who should get a holiday tip?
Those who help you the most day-to-day should be at the top of your list, says Sharon Schweitzer, the founder of Access to Culture. This could be anyone from a nanny to a housekeeper to a hairstylist. These are the individuals who work really hard to make your life more convenient and they deserve to be recognized.
When in doubt, ask
Some businesses have tipping and gift receiving policies—business ethics prevent government employees (although mail carriers are allowed to accept gifts and tips under $20) from receiving any holiday tipping—so if you have any reservations, holiday tipping etiquette is to ask about policies. If the business has a front desk, you can call to ask about their policy. Or, if you have a more informal relationship with one of your providers, the safest choice is to give a modest tip or small gift. Find out 32 secrets your mail carrier won’t tell you.
How much to tip?
Holiday tipping etiquette suggests that those who land at the top of your list should receive a little more. Schweitzer suggests giving anywhere between half to a full week’s pay, while those you see less can get a little less, around $10 to $40. But this also all depends on your holiday budget and how much you’re able to give during the holidays. If you’re working within a budget, here’s how to cut down on the holiday spending.
Holiday tipping can also mean giving a gift. “Local artisan candles or soaps, fine tea or coffee, and flower arrangements are excellent alternatives to monetary tips,” says Schweitzer. There’s always the option of getting creative and hand making a gift. You can explore a craft store for materials for a heartfelt handmade card or bake a plate of goodies, like peppermint cookies or baklava. Here are tips on how to give a truly meaningful gift, based on science.
You don’t want to mess with this tip—you are literally putting your hair in this person’s hands. Stylists work hard to make you look good, so your tip to them should mirror that. If you do decide to tip, holiday tipping etiquette suggests the equivalent of a visit, or at least twice your regular tip (15 to 20 percent of the bill), is good. According to Consumer Reports, the median cash gift to hairdressers is $20. Your gift also depends on how long you’ve been going to your stylist. If it has been five years or longer, the gift should probably be more personal and tailored to them. Find out the 32 secrets your hairstylist won’t tell you.
The person who scrubs your toilet and makes your kitchen sink sparkle definitely deserves a holiday treat. Gift bags and gift cards are always appreciated, but if you know your housekeeper could use the extra money, then go for the tip. For a housekeeper that comes in once a week, the equivalent of a day’s pay or $50 is ideal. You might want to dole out a little more though since the median holiday tip, per the Consumer Reports survey, is $65. Here are the 38 things your housecleaner secretly wants you to know.
This person helps whip you into shape and showing thanks is always a nice gesture. An acceptable holiday tip is equivalent to the price of one session, or if you see your fitness instructor multiple times a week, a more substantial gift works too. You can always be cute with this gift and get them some gear you know they’ll love and get good use out of, such as a gym bag or athletic wear.
As someone who opens the door for you daily, helps you hail cabs, and holds your packages for you, a holiday tip is well-deserved. There’s typically a standard amount to tip depending on your building, city, location, and if you’re living in a rental or co-op. If you’re not sure how much to give, feel free to check with neighbors and give a cash or gift card of equal value. A safe general budget range is also $50 to $100, depending on extra duties. Also make sure you’re not giving any of these gifts that send the wrong message.
The same holiday tipping etiquette “guidelines” for a doorman hold true for a building’s superintendent. This person is on call 24 hours of the day and is willing to drop what they’re doing to help you out with your apartment needs—think leaky faucet, blown air conditioning, faulty security system, etc. A tip between $50 to $100 is in order.
Your child’s teacher
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This is a perfect opportunity to let the child help contribute their teacher’s gift. A handwritten note from your child, along with a stress-relief basket or spa treatment is a perfect way to show your appreciation—especially if you know your child can be a little challenging during the school day. Another option is getting the parents in the class to pool money together for one big communal gift. Check out our list of thoughtful gifts for teachers.