Monday, December 10, 2018 / by Traci Jones
Here are some things to consider when you’re deciding how to thank people, whom you will spend money on, and how much you will spend:
- Your budget: First and foremost, you shouldn’t feel obligated to go beyond your personal budget.
- If your budget does not allow for tips, consider homemade gifts; and if you’re not good with crafts or in the kitchen, remember that words are always a great way to express your thanks for a year of good service.
- Any gift or tip should always be accompanied by a short-handwritten note of appreciation. (Two or three sentences will be enough.)
- Do you already tip regularly? If you tip at the time of service, you may forego an end of the year tip, or give a more modest holiday thank you. You may also choose to give a small gift instead.
- The quality and frequency of the service you receive.
- Your relationship with the service provider.
- Location: Tipping averages tend to be higher in larger cities.
- Length of service: The number of years you’ve been using the service.
- Regional customs.
- Type of establishment: Is it deluxe or moderate?
- When in doubt, ask: Call the front desk and ask what is 1) accepted by the company, and 2) typical for what they see from other customers.
- Common sense, specific circumstances and holiday spirit should always be your guide.
- Don’t buy into the thought that if you don’t tip you won’t get good service for the coming year. If you think you’ve had bad service for this reason, you might want to consider changing companies or speak directly with a manager.
Holiday Thanking Recommendations
The table below contains our recommendations for holiday thanking, or tipping. These are not rules. Remember that averages and ranges can vary based on the type of establishment, regional customs, and your own budget. You never have to give cash and a gift, except in a few cases, such as when your child may give a gift to a babysitter in addition to your tip or thank-you. (Read more on the difference between a holiday tip and a holiday gift.) We understand that some people aren’t comfortable picking out gifts for those they don’t know well so there are cash amounts listed below, as a suggestion only.
Au pair or live-in nanny
Options: Cash or consider a gift. This person works closely with your family and you probably know them well.
Suggested Amount or Gift: Up to one week’s pay and a gift from your child(ren).
Suggested Amount or Gift: Up to one evening’s pay and a small gift from your child(ren).
Day care provider
Options: Cash or a gift for each staff member who works with your child(ren).
Suggested Amount or Gift: A gift from you or $25-$70 for each staff member who works with your child(ren) and a small gift from your child(ren).
Live-in help (nanny, cook, butler, housekeeper)
Options: Cash and a personal gift
Suggested Amount or Gift: Up to one week to one month of pay as a cash tip, plus a gift from you.
Home health employees
Nursing home employees
Beauty salon staff
Newspaper delivery person
*United States Postal Service Gift Regulations:
Mail carriers working for the United States Postal Service are allowed to accept the following items during the holiday season:
- Snacks and beverages or perishable gifts that are not part of a meal.
- Small gifts that have little intrinsic value (travel mugs, hand warmers, etc…) and are clearly no more than $20 in value.
- Perishable items clearly worth more (large fruit baskets or cookie tins) must be shared with the entire branch.
Mail carriers working for the United States Postal Service may not accept the following:
- Cash gifts, checks, gift cards, or any other form of currency.