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Quick Guidelines for Holiday Etiquette Tipping

Many of us want to show our appreciation to those special service people in our life at holiday time via etiquette tipping. However, trying to figure out what we should tip them is sometimes puzzling. No one wants to be a cheapskate, but over tipping can put a dent in our budget. Then there’s trying to figure out who we should tip.

According to Peter Post, director of the Emily Post Institute and author of Essential Manners for Couples, “You tip the people who perform services for you year-round, who are there for you when you need them and whom you have a valuable relationship with.”

Etiquette tipping experts generally agree that cash is the best way to say thank you during the holidays. However, you don’t need to break the bank to show your generosity. “Forget about what you ought to do. Do what you can, and do it in the nicest way you possibly can,” advices Post.

To make planning your tipping budget easier, here’s a quick holiday tipping guide:


Babysitter – 1 evening’s pay and small gift from child
Au Pair – 1 week’s pay or a gift and small gift from child
Nanny – 1 week’s to 1 month’s pay and small gift from child
Daycare Providers – $20-$70 each and small gift from child
Child’s Teacher – Gift (but first check school’s gift giving policy)
Coaches/Tutors/Music Teachers/Ballet Instructors, etc. – A small gift from child


Housekeeper – 1 week’s pay or more (depending on length of service)
Trash Collectors/Snowplow Driver – $15-$20 each
Parking Attendants – $10-$35 each or up to half a month’s parking bill for the group if they regularly provide extra service
Gardener – $20-$50 (tip your gardener in the fall if the last job is a fall clean up)


Doormen – $25-$100 each (those who provide the most service for you should get more than those who you barely see)
Superintendent/Custodian – $50-$300 (tip if there’s no doorman and service has been very good, tip less if you tip throughout the year)
Porters/Handymen – $10-$50 each
Elevator Operators – $15-$40 each


Hairdresser – Cost of 1 haircut (or $20-$100); also small gift if you’re a regular
Manicurist – Cost of 1 session (or $10-$50) and small gift
Personal Trainer – Cost of 1 session (or $25 to 1 week’s pay)
Massage Therapist – Cost of 1 session (or $50-$100)


Dog groomer – ¼ or ½ the cost of 1 session and small gift
Dog Walker/Sitter – Cost of 1-2 week’s pay (small gift optional)


U.S. Mail Carrier – Gifts under $20
UPS – Gifts $15 or under
FedEx – Gift with value of up to $25 (no cash)
Paper Carrier – $15-$25 for daily delivery ($5-$15 for weekend delivery)

© Donna Monday
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