Here’s your simple and complete guide to holiday and Christmas tipping etiquette. You’ll find who is usually tipped, plus suggested tip amounts based on what others give.
Thriftiness is a virtue, so it’s a positive thing that many of us are on an economic diet.
However, the flip side of every strength is its weakness. This is true of thriftiness in that the flip side is stinginess.
What’s the dividing line?
“Thriftiness” is cutting back at your own expense. “Stinginess” is cutting back at the expense of others.
Skipping on holiday tips might seem like a necessity in lean years, but in times of economic hardships, those who work in the service industry, either to make our lives run more smoothly, to help us look our best, or to keep up the appearance and enjoyment of our homes, deserve and benefit greatly from our generosity. With the pandemic still affecting many service providers, your holiday tipping will probably benefit the person more so than in the pre-pandemic economy.
Of course, don’t go into debt or not pay the electric bill so you can tip your personal trainer or the lawn service guy; however, if you can afford to employ a personal trainer or lawn service, you should account for their end-of-the-year tip in your yearly budget.
You won’t be alone in your Christmas tipping this year. A poll showed most American’s plan to tip this holiday season, with 45 percent of respondents saying they plan to tip at least one provider higher than usual.
So who gets our tips, and what amounts are the norm?
Here’s the list of the persons most often given Christmas tips and guidelines to help you decide how much is appropriate to give.
How Much Should We Tip Those Who Help Our Homes Run Smoothly?
How much are house cleaners tipped?
The usual tip amount is equal to the cost of one cleaning. If two or more people clean your home as part of a team, divide the cost of one cleaning by the number of people, and place that amount of money into a holiday card for each person.
How much are mail carriers tipped?
Here, the rules of tipping are spelled out by the USPS and not by etiquette. Mail carriers are allowed to accept gifts, but never cash or gift cards. The maximum value of a gift is $2o. To keep up with possible changes to their policy, check the most up-to-date information here on the USPS Employee Tipping and Gift-Receiving Policy page of their website.
How much are lawn care workers tipped?
If the same person or crew services your home most of the time, you’ll want to tip $10- $20 to each crew member. If it’s one person only, the tip usually equals the amount of one service.
How much are delivery persons who come to our homes on a regular basis tipped?
People in this category would include dry cleaning delivery persons, local pharmacy delivery persons, the driver from your local pizza delivery restaurant, and such. Add an extra $10-$20 to one of the tip amounts in the month of December, or place the cash in a holiday card and hand it to the person in addition to the tip for that particular trip to your home.
How much are trash collectors tipped?
If the same person or persons service your home most of the time, you’ll want to tip each person $10 or $20. If it’s one person, your tip will be more along the lines of $30-$50.
How much are service providers tipped?
These service providers include pool service, lawn spraying, bug spraying, handyman, and such. They come to your home and provide you with a service you don’t want to do yourself, taking a load off of your shoulders. The tip range is $20-$30 each. If a lawn care person or handyman comes to your home an average of once or more per week, you’ll want to tip an average of the cost of one week’s service.
Grace Note: For lawn care workers and other service provider crews, if a group of three or more provide the service, the amount is usually $15-$20 per person.
How much is the newspaper delivery person tipped?
Not too many people subscribe to their local daily paper anymore; however, if you do, and the same person delivers your paper daily or most days, you’ll want to tip generously. That person gets up usually before 4 AM in every type of weather to deliver to you something that you enjoy and that’s part of your life 365 days a year. Tips amount are $50-$75, although $100 up to $200 is not uncommon. Keep in mind the driving distance to your home, and the road and weather conditions in the rainy season or winter when determining your tip amount and add to it accordingly.
How Much Should We Tip Those Who Provide for Us Personally?
How much should you tip your hairdresser at Christmas?
Your tip should equal the average amount you spend on one visit. If you see the person(s) so often you consider them a personal friend, then a gift is probably more comfortable than a cash tip for you to give and for them to receive. After all, we don’t tip our friends! If you’re not sure what to do, give a gift card to a store or restaurant you know they enjoy. That way, it’s more personal than cash. Or you might want to spend part of the tip money on a personal gift and give the rest in the form of cash or a gift card.
How much should you tip the shampoo person at your hair salon?
If someone other than your stylist shampoos your hair, and it’s the same person most of the time you visit, you’ll want to tip $10-$20.
How much do you tip the dog groomer?
You’ll want to tip the average amount of one visit. If the grooming is divided between two or three people, divide the tip by the number of people.
How much do you tip your fitness instructor or personal trainer?
You’ll want to tip the cost of one week’s services. If you’re billed monthly, divide your monthly fee by four to come up with the amount.
How much should you tip your massage therapist?
If you see the same massage therapist weekly or monthly, you’ll want to tip the amount of one visit. If you’re on a monthly package plan and visit weekly, tip one month’s fee amount, not one week’s fee amount, especially if the therapist comes to your home.
How much should you tip your favorite barista at Christmas?
If your barista starts making your drink as soon as he sees you walk in the door, that’s service with heart! You’ll want to put your tip into a Christmas card and hand it directly to him. If you put the money into the tip jar, it’s more than likely going to be equally divided between everyone who works at the coffee house, or at least everyone who worked that day. That’s fine if you want to thank everyone, but the card is important if you want to make sure your money is going to a particular person(s). You can also add some to the tip jar for everyone else, because serving up your morning fuel or afternoon pick-me-up is most often a joint effort of more than one associate!
How much should you tip your favorite restaurant server at Christmas?
If you have a favorite restaurant where you eat several times a month, and the same server is always there to greet you by name with a smile and welcomes you like a friend, it’s kind to give a larger than normal tip during one of your December visits. The amount varies widely, but you’ll at least want to double the amount of your tip. So instead of tipping your usual 20 percent or so, you’ll want to double the tip to 40 percent or more.
Christmas Tipping and Gifts for Those Who Help Our Children Excel
How much are teachers tipped at Christmas?
Teachers are overworked, underpaid, and often overwhelmed with the immensity of doing their best to navigate the storm of feelings and demands of twenty-plus students and their parents while following school policies and their own hearts. God bless them!
The holidays and the end of the school year are your times to thank them for spending seven or eight hours a day with your elementary-age child and pouring their time, attention, care, and knowledge into them!
How much should you give? As much as you possibly can! If for you that’s $10, that’s fine. Your child’s teachers don’t want to see you or your child go without anything for their benefit. But if you can give $100 or more, that’s fine and correct, too.
Should a teacher ever be given cash from a parent?
Teachers should never be given cash as a Christmas gift, or tipped at any time, from individual parents because it can seem like a bribe. The best way to handle the situation is with a class gift. This way, the exact amount from each family is kept private.
Give a general gift certificate (American Express, VISA, MasterCard, etc.) so you don’t limit their choices on where to spend the money. You never want to let a teacher know the amount you contributed because the money can seem like a bribe instead of a gift.
There really isn’t an average. Gifts for Christmas and the end of the year can range from $10 to $100 or more per student depending on each family’s budget.
In addition to the cash donation, a small gift from the child is a sweet gesture. Just make sure it’s not a “World’s Best Teacher” ornament. The teacher probably already has a Christmas tree full of those! Books for the classroom are always a nice gesture because elementary teachers love to have as many age- and reading-level-appropriate books as possible in their classroom.
A holiday card from your family with a note of appreciation written on it by both you and your child is something the teacher will greatly appreciate.
How much are middle school and high school teachers tipped?
While it’s probably not possible to give gifts to the seven or so teachers your child has this year, especially when you have multiple children, if your child is especially fond of a teacher or coach, a gift (never cash) of less than $50 in value is appropriate. A gift card to a local science center, art museum, restaurant, bookstore, or coffee shop are nice options.
How much are school office workers and administrators tipped?
No gift is required; however, it’s always a lovely gesture. If there are so many people in this group that it’s too expensive to purchase a gift for each of them, an item they can share is a nice gesture: flowers for the office, a basket of tasty treats, etc.
How much are other teachers and school helpers tipped?
After-school teachers and in-house teachers who teach music, art, martial arts, and such, along with your child’s school bus driver or crosswalk guard, are others you might want to consider showing your appreciation to during the holidays. A nice gesture would be a gift certificate to a local coffee house or donut shop or any small gift. $10-$20 average.
How much should babysitters, nannies, or au pairs be tipped at Christmas?
A sitter you hire regularly is tipped the average of what you normally pay for one day or evening’s care.
If the sitter works for you more than one day or evening per week, the holiday tip is the average of one week’s pay. A gift from the child is also a nice gesture.
Live-in nannies and au pairs are also given a holiday bonus, or tip, of one week’s pay. In addition, you’ll want to give her gifts from the children and you so she has things to open on Christmas morning.
Who Is Not Allowed to Accept a Tip at Christmas?
If you have a wonderful doctor, vet, CPA, stockbroker, lawyer, or other professional whom the thought of not having in your life makes you shiver like Scrooge when he saw the Ghost of Christmas Past, I can understand why you want to show your love for them, especially during the holidays.
The problem is that these types of professionals are regulated by boards that all pretty much say the same thing: “If you accept a tip, your license is revoked.” And while you might think it’s no biggie because no one will find out, it’s putting the people you’re trying to bless in the position of either having to have an awkward conversation with you about why they can’t accept your kindness and must return your money, or taking your money and knowing that they did the wrong thing.
The good news is that there are still wonderful ways you can thank your favorite professionals. Most professional boards allow Christmas gifts to be given in the amount of $50 or less. And there are limitless gift options for that amount of money. You can also send a gift basket or bring in lunch to the office that can be shared by the staff.
The $50 limit does not apply when it’s a gift the staff can share. You can also bring by baked goods, have flowers delivered, or drop by with a beautiful orchid plant. With flowers or baked goods, you can deliver them to the whole office to enjoy, or individually to only the people you deal with, or to one particular person. They’ll love that you thought of them, and the gift isn’t of the type or cost that will cause them to come under scrutiny.
Do You Tip Your Pastor, Priest, Rabbi, or Other Spiritual Leader During the Holidays?
A card or note of sincere appreciation mentioning details about the spiritual growth or insights you’re experiencing under your clergy person’s leadership and teaching is a beautiful gift! You may sign the note or make it anonymous. No one working in religious service is expecting a tip or gift at any time. But if you want to provide for them in a special way during the holidays, you can do so by placing cash or a gift card inside a holiday card. You can then mail the card to the office address, drop it by during office hours, or place it in the offering box. When giving cash or a gift card, you’re going to want to remain anonymous so the money will never seem like you’re seeking recognition or a favor and so the clergy person doesn’t feel like a thank you note is due.
Etiquette Tips to Keep in Mind Concerning Holiday Tipping
The following are the same for anyone you’re tipping during the holidays:
1. Place your tip in a sealed holiday card and include a handwritten line or two of how you benefit from the service the person provides.
2. When money is limited, focus your tips on who you think will benefit the most. If your personal trainer is spending New Year’s at the Ritz Carlton, and you’ve heard through the grapevine that your child’s teacher is struggling to make ends meet, tip/gift accordingly.
3. When deciding whom to tip and how much while on a limited budget, keep the ABCs of holiday tipping in mind:
A.) Quality and difficulty of service
B.) Length of time it takes the service to be completed
C.) How long you’ve been associated with the person(s)
When Is the Best Time to Give a Christmas Tip?
You can give your tip any time from Thanksgiving through the end of the first week of January. However, tipping early in December allows the recipient to use the funds to help purchase gifts for members of their own family.
What You Can Do This Year if You Can’t Afford Holiday Tips?
If your budget this year won’t stretch for Christmas tipping, you can still acknowledge your appreciation of the persons and their great service. In a holiday card or even a regular note card, be honest about how your spending has had to be limited this year. Go on to write that you wanted them to know how much you appreciate them and their service.
An extra sweet touch is to write their boss a note, text, or email to say what a fantastic job they’re doing for you!
Also, consider leaving the person a detailed favorable review on their business social media pages and on local and national review sites that apply to them such as Care.com, Google Reviews, Yelp, Neighborhood.com, and others. Your review can have a fantastic impact on their business, bringing them more customers and more income because of it.
Most Importantly, Concerning Christmas and Holiday Tipping!
Keep in mind that tipping shouldn’t be strictly regulated by an etiquette book. Let’s give from our hearts, abundantly and joyfully, in equal measure to the blessings we’ve been given. The amount you’re able to give might ebb and flow from year to year, but your goodwill will always be the heart of your tips and gifts!
If you’ll be attending any holiday parties or opening any gifts (as we all will!), these popular posts give you solid skills in handling holiday happenings with graciousness, certainty, and kindness. Put what you find here into action, and you’ll be shining from now through New Year’s and beyond as brightly as the lights on the most beautiful Christmas tree!
The 7 Manners of Opening Every Gift
How to Choose and Give the Perfect Hostess Gift
The 5 ThingsNever to Ask at a Christmas…Or Any Party!
Until next time…
Do what you were born to do: bless the world by being you at your authentic best!