How to Follow Proper Holiday Tipping Etiquette

'Tis the season to be … tipping everyone. Use these guidelines to figure out who you need to give to, and how much.

You will need

  • General tipping guidelines
  • Your own judgment

Step 1 Consider a few things When making a list of who to thank at holiday time – and how much – ask yourself a few questions: Do you tip this person all year? In that case, the gratuity needn’t be extravagant. How long have you been receiving this person’s service? What is the quality of that service?

Step 2 Reward employees Give people you employ year-round, like a nanny or a house cleaner, one week’s pay and a gift. Give those that you pay per service, like a hairstylist or fitness trainer, the equivalent of one visit or session. If you have a regular babysitter, give them one evening’s pay.

Step 3 Tip apartment staff If you live in an apartment complex, give the superintendent $20 to $80. The amount depends on where you live – big-city dwellers usually pay more – and how upscale the property. Doormen get $15 to $80 each; elevator operators, $15 to $40 each; garage attendants, $10 to $30 each.

Step 4 Thank your child's teacher Give your child’s teacher a small gift. Better yet, get a group of parents to pool their resources so you can buy one substantial gift. Give the school bus driver $15.

Step 5 Deliver to the deliverers Don’t forget delivery workers. Offer mail carriers, who cannot accept money, baked goods or a small gift. The newspaper delivery person may accept cash; give them $10 to $20.