Holiday Tipping Guide: How Much Should You Give?


During the holiday season, you may feel inclined to be a little more generous, but knowing who to tip and how much to give can be tricky. While there are no set in stone rules for holiday tipping, you should keep in mind that a tip is meant to reflect your appreciation for the recipient’s services. You don’t need to go overboard when it comes to holiday tipping, but you don’t want to be a scrooge either. If you’re not sure what to give, the following tips can help you get some insight on the best way to say “Thank You” during the holidays.

Household Employees

If you have a housekeeper, nanny, personal assistant, health care aide or other individual that works in your home on a daily basis, they should be at the top of your holiday tipping list. Generally, the amount you should tip depends on how long they’ve worked for you, the type of work they do and what kind of relationship you have. If you’ve had the same housekeeper for years or your children are especially close to a nanny or other caregiver, then you may want to tip more. As a general guideline, you should expect to give them one to two weeks pay as a tip/bonus. If the work they do is especially important or you consider them to be more like family than an employee, you may want to consider giving them a month’s wages as a bonus.

Neighborhood Workers

Another group of people you may want to include on your holiday tip list are the ones who perform services in your neighborhood on a regular basis. These may include your mailman, newspaper carrier, sanitation workers, gardeners, or dog walkers. For these types of services, a tip ranging from $10 to $50 per person is generally acceptable, depending on the type of services they perform and how well you know them.

Personal Service Providers

If you regularly visit the salon, spa, or gym, there are a number of people you may want to tip, including your hairdresser, colorist, manicurist or personal trainer. Ideally, you should tip each person an amount that equals the cost of one to two visits, depending on how often you use their services. If you’ve been going to the same salon or gym for years and you’ve developed a close relationship with your trainer or stylist, you can certainly give more. On the other hand, you may only want to give half the amount of a regular visit as a tip if you use their services infrequently.

Restaurant Staff

The generally accepted rule for tipping in restaurants is 15% of the bill, but it can be difficult to know how much to give during the holiday season. If you’ve been going to the same restaurant for years and you know all the staff, you may want to leave a little more. Leaving double your usual tip is certainly acceptable, especially if you’re already a generous tipper. If there’s a particular waiter or bartender who always takes extra special care of you and your family, you may want to give them an extra cash gift or a gift card on top of you regular tip.

Giving Gift Cards

Everybody loves cash, but there are certain situations where a gift card may be more appropriate. For example, you may feel more comfortable giving your child’s teacher or bus driver a gift instead of money. If you don’t want to give cash and you don’t know what to buy, you may consider purchasing a gift card instead. Gift cards in the $20 to $50 range are a great way to say thank you without breaking the bank. Just about every retailer and restaurant offers some type of gift card or gift certificate, which gives you plenty of options to choose from.

Final Word

Ultimately, the most important thing to remember when it comes to holiday tipping is to do what works best for your budget. It really is the thought that counts, whether you can afford to give a little or a lot.

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