Tips for Holiday Tipping
What is the rule of thumb on Christmas tipping? Who do you tip and how much do we tip for the holidays?
In mid-December, you should always tip three types of people who provide assistance and support to you throughout the year: your personal service providers, all household help, and any caregivers of your dependents. Reward loyalty and diligence by tipping those who help you year-round with the equivalent of the cost of one session or one paycheck -- unless they've been working for over a year, then consider adding the price of a session or paycheck for every past year. For Personal Service Manicurist, hairdresser, personal trainer, barber, masseuse, beautician. For Household Help Housekeeper, cleaning person, gardner, janitor, handyman, doorman, lawn care person, newspaper deliverer, driver, personal assistant. For Caregivers of Dependents Baby nurse, nanny, caregiver, babysitter, dog walker, dog sitter, tutor, piano teacher, au pair. When there are many tips to be prepared, keep track on a spreadsheet to make it easier next year. To tip, place crisp new bills in a holiday cash greeting card and add a short personal notation expressing your heartfelt appreciation -- but only when it is sincere. If living in a condo or apartment building, ask for the list of employees, because often it will include tipping guidelines -- which are only a suggested gratuity. Bonus Vs. Tip A tip is an expected gratuity and a bonus is a one-time reward -- although it can be given more than once a year. A bonus is given at your discretion when someone has gone beyond the call of duty to accommodate you or members of your family. For instance, if you were away on business and the caregiver was solely responsible for your sick child, relative or pet. It goes without saying that when there is a trusted baby or dog sitter that you've come to rely on, you would want to make them feel appreciated by giving them an additional bonus. Or token gift -- perhaps from the children. Something they picked out or made. You can also have children show their appreciation by having them take cookies to the doorman on Christmas Eve -- to be sure he lets Santa in the door -- as a good start to learning how to tip. A thoughtful bonus for your caregiver might be a pair of boots or a warm coat, if you can afford it -- but include the receipt. Token Gift There are those you should NOT tip with a monetary gift, that you can give a "token gift" to instead. A Starbucks gift card -- for no more than $20 --, sealed baked goods or chocolates, or a bottle of wine. A token gift should never be a re-gift. These recipients would be: A business owner, because they own the business: for instance, a beauty salon owner, parking garage owner, dry cleaner owner, gym owner, restaurant owner. Professionals such as a teacher, lawyer, tax accountant, doctor, dentist, plumber, electrician, computer geek, caterer. It is illegal to give a monetary tip to a mail carrier or anyone who works for the Federal Government. In some areas of the country, not even a token gift is allowed to be given to a garbage collector or teacher. Find out what is customary in your neighborhood and school. Short on Cash? Aren't we all? When you cannot really afford to tip, give a token amount in a holiday cash greeting card and tell the recipient that you are sorry it is not more, because you appreciate their help and hope to make it up to them next year. Or use a colored envelope that your child has decorated with holiday stickers or drawings and say, "Thank you," as you look them in the eye and smile. Showing your good intention will make up for any awkwardness of not being able to give a bigger tip.