How Much to Tip 11 People for the Holidays
The holidays can be a stressful time, filled with busy social calendars, family obligations, and last-minute shopping. On top of that, you're expected to give holiday tips to everyone from the mail carrier to the dog walker. But don’t fret! We’re here to help you figure out how much to tip 11 important people for the holidays.
1. REGULAR BARISTA
If your favorite barista knows your daily order before you even make it to the counter, you might want to give an extra holiday tip to this friendly face (who likely makes minimum wage). Rather than leave money in a communal tip jar, directly hand your barista between $5 and $20. If you don’t want to give cash, consider giving a gift card in an equal amount.
2. APARTMENT BUILDING STAFF
If you live in an apartment or condo, tip the building superintendent, doormen, and handymen. Most etiquette experts suggest that you give your super anywhere from $20 to $100, doormen $15 to $75, and handymen $15 to $35. If your doorman is particularly friendly or often collects or carries packages for you, give an amount on the higher end of the range. Holiday tip amounts may vary depending on the city in which you live and the amount of personalized attention you’ve received from your building’s staff, so if you’re unsure what to give, ask your neighbors how much they’re tipping.
Depending on your company’s policies, give your assistant a holiday cash bonus as well as a gift. Try to tailor your gift to what you know your assistant (or intern) likes. A gift card for $50 to their favorite coffee shop or local bookstore makes for a thoughtful present.
If you own a home and pay a gardener to regularly maintain your lawn, give a cash tip between $20 and $50. To make it easier on yourself, you can simply give your gardener the amount you pay for their regular weekly or biweekly service. And if you’ll be out of town for the December holidays, give your gardener the tip at the beginning of January—it’s not too late!
5. MAIL CARRIER
The United States Postal Service has strict rules for the types of holiday tips and gifts that mail carriers can accept, regardless of how many excess packages he or she has been delivering to your door. Rather than give cash, a check, or a gift card—all of which your mail carrier can’t accept—give a small gift worth less than $20. Sweet treats, baked goods, or a simple pair of gloves make a nice gesture.
6. HAIR STYLIST
During your regular appointment in December or January, tip your hair stylist or barber up to the amount that one hair cut usually costs you. If you've been seeing the same hair stylist for years, give him or her a gift card to their favorite restaurant, clothing store, or spa. The more personal the gift, the better.
The teachers, tutors, and coaches who educate your kids appreciate a holiday gesture. Some schools prohibit teachers from accepting money from parents, so play it safe by giving a thoughtful thank you card along with a small gift, such as a book, picture frame, or plant.
8. CLEANING PERSON
If you have a cleaning person tidy up your home, give him or her between 50 and 100 percent of what you usually pay for one service. So if your cleaning person charges you $100 for one visit, give a holiday tip of $50 to $100. If you don’t want to give cash, you can also give a gift card, thank you note, and box of holiday pastries.
9. PERSONAL TRAINER
Whether you regularly work out with a personal trainer, yoga teacher, or Pilates instructor, consider tipping the cost of one session with them. You can also give them a gift card to a local spa or department store. Just keep in mind that your personal trainer probably won't appreciate getting cookies, candy canes, or other holiday treats loaded with sugar (and you might not want to admit that you've been snacking on them either!).
10. DOG WALKER
We entrust pet groomers, dog walkers, and pet sitters with our beloved furry friends, so definitely remember to tip them the cost of one normal service. For example, if you typically pay your pet groomer $30 per session, pay him an extra $30 during the holidays. If you have a particularly close relationship with your dog walker or pet sitter, give more money.
Whether you occasionally pay a neighborhood teenager to babysit your kids or you have a live-in nanny, the people who care for your children will probably expect a holiday tip. Have your children write a thank you note to their babysitter or nanny, and include cash or a check for an amount equal to one day’s pay (for an occasional babysitter) to one week’s pay (for a full-time nanny). And if your babysitter is on vacation during the end of December, make sure to give a New Year’s tip at the beginning of January.
All images via iStock.