Holiday Tipping Guide: Coronavirus 2020 Edition

PSOW Staff - Tuesday, December 1, 2020
560 X 300 Blog Artwork Tipping Guide 2020 (1) (1)

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every aspect of our daily lives and changed the way we shop, dine, and work. From InstaCart shoppers and Uber drivers to curbside pickup attendants, please consider those who have been most helpful to you and your family this year when deciding what -- and how much -- to give. 

The tradition of tipping dates back to the 17th century when overnight guests at private homes would provide a sum of money, known as vails, to the host’s servants for services that had been performed or that were expected. The practice of tipping soon flourished with London coffee houses and other commercial establishments soon adopting the practice. From that time on, tipping became an expected monetary gift connected to service, particularly in such industries as hospitality, personal care, and, yes, coffee houses.

During the holiday season, who should be on your holiday tipping list and how much are you expected to give? 

In general, the following holiday tipping recommendations are for regular personal care services related to you, your home, or your family along with suggested amounts for each. Tips should always be accompanied by a handwritten card or note expressing your appreciation, and in this era of contactless payment options, you may want to send payment electronically using Venmo, Zelle, or another service provider.

  • Yard workers, handymen, pool cleaners: $20 - $50 each
  • Housekeepers: Up to a week’s salary
  • Personal care workers (hair stylists, massage therapists, personal trainers): Typically tip the equivalent of the charge for one haircut, massage, workout session, etc.
  • Babysitters: The typical cost for one evening’s payment
  • Daycare staff: $20 - $50 for each worker who works directly with your child
  • Dog walker: Cash gift equivalent to one day or one week of service
  • FedEx/UPS delivery employees: FedEx drivers are not permitted to accept tips, and UPS does not have a stated policy on tipping. However, a gift of pre-packaged COVID-friendly items such as hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial wipes can be provided as a "thank you" gift.
  • USPS letter carriers may accept a gift valued up to $20 but cannot accept tips.
  • Newspaper delivery person: $20-$50

[Adapted from the original 2018 PSOW Holiday Tipping Guide blog post.]

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