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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.


  • 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.
  • TIP: You should always include a short handwritten note with any gift or tip. Two or three sentences are plenty.
  • 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.
  • FACT: Though mail carriers are not allowed to accept cash, a survey found that the average American slips them 20 bucks.

You Will Need

  • General tipping guidelines
  • Your own judgment

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