Holiday Tipping Guide

PSOW Staff - Monday, December 10, 2018

Did you know that the tradition of tipping dates back to the 17th century? The practice first gained prominence 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 coffeehouses and other commercial establishments soon adopting the practice. From that point in history until today, tipping is an expected monetary gift that is connected to service, particularly in such industries as hospitality, personal care and, yes, coffeehouses.

During the holiday season, tipping has also grown in popularity regarding year-end gifting, with the practice spreading to a wide variety of personal services that range from dogwalkers to mechanics. But who exactly should be on our 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 family along with suggested amounts for each:

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, one should 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

Dogwalker: Cash gift equivalent to one day or one week of service

FedEx/UPS Delivery employees: FedEx prohibits tipping over $75. UPS does not have a stated policy on tipping.

USPS letter carriers may accept a gift valued up to $20 but cannot accept tips.

Newspaper delivery person: $20-$50

There are some personal care and professional services workers for whom it would be inappropriate to tip. Instead of money, consider giving a small gift, a food item or a donation to a charity in their name:

  • Doctor/Dentist

  • Boss

  • Home health employees/nurses

  • Nursing home employees

  • Teachers/Tutors

And finally, there are some people in your life where a nice Christmas greeting is the only expectation. In general, the following people do not expect a holiday tip from their customers:

  • Cable installer

  • Dry cleaner

  • Plumber/HVAC technician

  • Tailor 

  • Waste management drivers

Click Here for Infographic: Holiday Tipping


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