The Holiday Tipping Point

PSOW Staff - Monday, December 16, 2019
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It’s the week before Christmas and, if you’re like most people, you’re putting the finishing touches on your holiday shopping. But when it comes to gifting all the special people in your life, don’t forget the art of tipping—especially when it comes to those who help make your life better each and every day.

A year-end tip or cash gift is one of the best ways we can express our gratitude to the hardworking folks who help our lives run smoothly. But to truly show our respect, we need to make sure that cash gift is the right size and color. When choosing an amount, consider the quality of the service, your personal relationship with the recipient, how long they have been of service to you—and how much you can afford.

For personal care workers like hair stylists, barbers, manicurists, personal trainers and massage therapists – a year end tipping gift should typically be the cost of one haircut, a manicure or one training session. If more than one person assists you at any of these places, you can divide the amount among the staff.

For those workers associated with our homes and personal lives, such as a caregiver or live in companion for an elder or child, we recommend giving a week to a month’s pay, plus a personal gift. Babysitters should receive up to one night’s pay and a small gift from you and your children. For housekeepers and gardeners, if you are lucky enough to have them, they should be given the equivalent of one weekly paycheck and a nice personal gift. As for your child’s teachers or day care workers, you might want to consider going in with other parents on a shared group gift.

Mail carriers are our unsung heroes, especially this time of year, and if you want to recognize your postal worker, we suggest a small gift or gift cards under $20, which is the cut-off point regulated by the US postal service. UPS drivers can accept tips as well, but FedEx discourages gifting of any kind. And Amazon delivery drivers can certainly accept small tokens of appreciation.

In general, some professionals you can leave off the year end gifting or tipping list include accountants, bankers, doctors and other medical professionals and even veterinarians—all people who generally receive more than enough from you for services rendered.  Although, if you feel like it, go ahead and spread the joy to them too with a small home-cooked item or maybe a fruit basket to share with the entire office.  

And one last thing to consider, if you do not have the extra funds to give a year-end gift to anyone on this list, consider a handwritten note of appreciation…more than not, it’s a gift that will be remembered long after the fruitcake goes stale!

For more information on holiday tipping as well as year-round tipping, check out the PSOW’s Pamela Eyring’s suggestions in this recent Buzzfeed article by Samantha Lefave:

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